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Adoption agencies join forces to encourage more families to adopt children

The UK’s leading voluntary adoption agencies have joined forces to encourage more families to come forward to adopt children in care who are considered as ‘harder to place’.

Their appeal comes as a new scheme ‘It’s All About Me’ (IAAM) is launched in Westminster today.

Families choosing to adopt children who are often overlooked because of their age, ethnic background, or because they are seeking placement with siblings will now be given a range of interventions geared to supporting adoptive parents, including training in therapeutic parenting tailored to the specific needs of the child, and 24-hour support during the first two years after adoption to reduce the risk of placement breakdown.

The IAAM scheme, developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and professional services firm Baker Tilly, is a new service available to local authorities seeking adoption for children in their care.

In its initial phase, the IAAM scheme aims to find placements for 100 children a year and organisers hope that with additional fundraising, this could rise to more than 300 a year.

Eighteen voluntary adoption agencies have helped set up the scheme, and of these, Action for Children, After Adoption, Adoption Matters Northwest, Caritas Care, PACT, and Family Futures, are all taking part as initial providers.

Finance for the programme has been provided through the first ever adoption Social Impact Bond (SIB). Bridges Ventures and Big Society Capital have invested £2 million to pay for the programme.

If successful, their investment will be repaid by local authorities, topped up by the Cabinet Office’s Social Outcomes Fund, out of the significant savings made from not placing a child in care for the same two year period.

Assuming the market expands, the bond will be re-opened next year to a wider group of investors.

Jan Fishwick, chief executive of participating IAAM provider, PACT, and Chair of CVAA, said: “There are many families who have a desire to adopt and who would provide a loving, stable home for these children.

However, they may not have considered adopting an older child, they may doubt their own abilities, or be worried about a lack of long term support.

"We hope that this scheme will encourage them to come forward in the knowledge that they will receive comprehensive training and guaranteed guidance and support throughout the early years.”

Jim Clifford, OBE, is head of Not-for-Profit advisory at Baker Tilly, chair of IAAM Adoption and one of the architects of the scheme.

He is himself adopted and together with his wife Sue, has adopted nine children.

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said: “Social investment, and new investments like SIBs, give us the chance to try new approaches to tackle social problems.

"It is a new source of funding to social enterprises and we are proud to be leading the world in developing it.”

Antony Ross, partner and head of social sector Funds at Bridges Ventures, said: “We are very excited to support this pioneering project that it’s not only the first investment of the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund but also the first SIB developed by the voluntary sector and the first to receive a grant from the Social Outcomes Fund.

"It has the potential to provide a loving home to around 2,000 children in care dramatically improving their life chances and save local authorities as much as £1.5bn in fostering fees.”

Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of Big Society Capital, added: “We are pleased to provide part of the social investment that will enable voluntary adoption agencies to provide critical support to families adopting ‘harder to place children’ so that those children can have a safe and loving home, and not have to spend further years in care.”

This article was taken from Charity Times – http://www.charitytimes.com/ct/adoption_agencies_join_forces_families_to_adopt_children.php%20.php