The Department for Education has handed £3.4m to five regional adoption agencies involving 17 councils.
Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday announced the additional funding in a bid to speed up the adoption process, improve recruitment and cut costs.
He said: “We want every child to be in the loving, stable home that’s right for them, and adoption can transform the lives of these vulnerable children - and their adoptive families - in a remarkable way.”
The creation of regional adoption agencies was championed by former prime minister David Cameron, with all councils required to join one by 2020.
To date, 141 councils have joined an agency or one under development.
Concerns were raised when agencies were first launched, with transition from existing arrangements said to cost more than the £14m available.
Chair of DfE’s adoption leadership board Andrew Christie said the additional funding is a “major step” and added: “Regional adoption agencies will be the platform on which a modernised adoption service is built; providing better support to adopters and transforming the life chances of many of the most vulnerable children.”
The agencies receiving a share of the funding are:
- Kent: Kent CC, Bexley LBC and Medway Council
- Coast to Coast: Cumbria CC, Durham CC and Sunderland City Council
- Lancashire: Blackpool BC and Lancashire CC
- Ambitious for Adoption: Harrow LBC, Bromley LBC, Redbridge LBC, City of London Corporation and Slough BC
- Adoption for South East: Surrey CC, East Sussex CC, West Sussex CC, Brighton & Hove City Council