Putting adoption needs first: Harrow teams up with experts across the capital to create even more happy families


Harrow has teamed up with five London boroughs and children’s charity Coram to make more successful adoption matches more quickly.

The capital’s first Regional Adoption Agency (RRA) will pool resources and expertise to bring forward more people ready to adopt, as well as improve matching processes and provide a better support network for them.

It will initially see Coram provide adoption services for Redbridge, the City of London and RAA leader Harrow, followed in the next few weeks by Bromley, Waltham Forest and Slough Children’s Services Trust.

Christine Robson, Harrow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Young People and Schools, said: “It makes sense to draw on the knowledge and experience of as many adoption experts as possible for the sake of our children in need. Pooling resources will help create more families more easily, which is great news for the young people, potential parents and the adoption teams who work so hard to make these matches happen.”

The agency will be the first port of call for adoption enquiries on behalf of the participating local authorities and will provide access to support for all of its adoptive families. Coram, which is judged “outstanding” by Ofsted and has more than 40 years of experience in finding vulnerable children permanent loving families, will deliver the service day-to-day.

Paul Hewitt, Corporate Director of People Services for Harrow Council, which is leading the RAA development, said: “We are proud to partner with local authorities and with Coram to launch London’s first regional adoption agency from its historic campus in Bloomsbury. Together we share a commitment to improving outcomes for children and are ambitious for adoption for those children who need it.”

The government is introducing RAAs across England to simplify the adoption process and ensure that the voluntary sector and local authorities are collaborating as effectively as possible to speed up matching of children and approved adopters. All local authorities across the country are expected to deliver their adoption services through an RAA by 2020.

This new partnership is announced as the latest published data shows that the number of approved adopters in London fell by 27% year-on-year, and the gap between children waiting for adoption and approved adopters has doubled*. Prospective adopters across the capital are urgently needed to come forward.

In addition to concerns about the impact on children’s long-term outcomes the longer they wait to be placed, analysis by Coram has also shown that failing to find adoptive families for just 30 children a year costs £1m for each year they remain in care.

Dr Carol Homden CBE, CEO of Coram, said: “Given the current challenging climate of adoption, there has never been a more important time for those in the sector to work together to combine skills and resources and match children and adopters in a timely way. We urgently need adopters to come forward, and to achieve that means providing timely and effective support for adopters and for children. We would urge anyone who feels they can offer a safe, secure and loving family for a vulnerable child to contact us to find out more.”

Coram Ambitious for Adoption is hosting free monthly information events in London for those interested in adoption to find out more about the process. Events take place on 10 July and 12 August 2019. Find out more at coramadoption.org.uk.