Cambridgeshire leads the way in improving fostering and adoption

CAMBRIDGESHIRE is leading the way in tackling a national problem of improving the time it takes for looked after children to find a loving, stable and supportive home.

A groundbreaking meeting between the local Judiciary and the Coram-Cambridgeshire Adoption Partnership was held this week, Wednesday, July 18.

This event was the first of its kind in the region, and was jointly hosted by HH Judge Plumsted and Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke.

It brought together the key figures responsible for overseeing the process of care proceedings for children who are unable to live within their family homes.

Representatives from the Judiciary, Coram, Court guardians (CAFCASS), social care and the council’s legal team discussed how joint working can help reduce timescales for looked after children.

Following David Cameron’s recognition of Coram as a National Centre for Excellence in Early Permanence, this event marks an important stage of Cambridgeshire’s work as the first partner in the scheme and demonstrates the commitment being made to the Adoption service.

Niki Clemo, Service Director, Children’s Social Care, Cambridgeshire explained the County’s whole systems approach to reducing delay for children who need permanency.

Jeanne Kaniuk OBE, Head of Adoption, Coram, spoke about a pioneering scheme in Cambridgeshire known as concurrent planning, which was an important influence in the Government’s recent legislative change, encouraging the wider application of ‘Fostering for Adoption’ approaches.

Claire Chamberlain, project manager for a Tri-borough Care Proceedings Pilot in London, talked about their work with the Judiciary to reduce delays in planning for children.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Nick Clarke, said: “This was a highly successful meeting with everyone having a common goal. Children who are looked after by the state are some of the most vulnerable people we and society care for. These children are our future and we need to do everything we can to make sure they reach a supportive and loving home as soon as possible. There is a national problem of the time it can take to achieve this which is why I called for this meeting so that we can improve the way we work even more while still finding the right homes. I know that all involved in this area are dedicated to doing their best for these children, who can often have very complex needs, and this productive meeting showed how we all want to work together to further improve things.”

Anyone wishing to know more about fostering and adoption should contact 0800 0520078 or visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/childrenyoungpeople/