Council plans to cut £37,000 a year from an adoption agency and bring services in-house
Nottinghamshire County Council plans to break its contract with an adoption agency and bring services in-house, according to reports.
The authority plans not to renew its contract with Bedfordshire-based agency Adoption Plus – which costs £37,500 a year – in favor of hiring an additional member of staff to help run services internally .
Adoption Plus offers support and advice to birth families when planning to adopt a child.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, agency staff traveled to Mansfield to offer these sessions, but advice has since been offered over the phone.
But adoption has been low – in 2019-20, only 56% of the 276 available sessions were used by nine customers and in 2020-2021, 75% were used by 13 customers.
“This contract has been reviewed and is found not to provide the best or most cost-effective service,” the board documents say.
Extending the contract beyond February 2022 “would not offer good value for money”, they added.
The council proposed that the funds used for the adoption agency be instead used to employ a permanent support worker to work with an existing team supporting children who are adopted, foster families and adopters.
The permanent worker will also help birth parents “have a say in their child’s life story and stay in touch with their child after the adoption.”
The Children and Youth Committee will vote on the plans at a meeting on January 17.
Documents released prior to the meeting stated: “It is considered that a service could be provided which would better meet the needs of birth families by providing a flexible local service where visits can be made to families and support offered.
“The service has looked at what neighboring counties offer – Derby and Derbyshire both provide the service by support workers, not trained counsellors, and they report that their services are well used with a waiting list.
“This proposed role, both at the start and during the child’s adoption journey, will increase the likelihood of better working relationships between adopters and biological families in the future.
“There are a few instances where biological families need counseling by a qualified counselor and in such circumstances any money saved could be used to purchase counseling sessions.”