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Adoption charity folds amid financial woe

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A children’s services charity to which almost all councils belonged has collapsed amid financial problems.

A children’s services charity to which almost all councils belonged has collapsed amid financial problems.

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) announced it was closing with immediate effect last Friday.

It has transferred most of its work to the Coram charity, using the name CoramBAAF.

However, BAAF’s flagship Be My Parent service, which allowed councils to seek adopters for children who they could not place locally, will end, as will its play therapy services.

A statement from Coram said BAAF faced “a fall in funding, including project funding, contracts, ever mounting infrastructure costs and historic liabilities”.

Be My Parent had experienced a decrease in referrals “causing it to become financially unsustainable”, the statement said.

BAAF’s most recent accounts, for 2013-14, show it spent £8.95m, had an income of only £8.7m and was carrying a liability of £4.8m on the Camden LBC pension fund.

Coram’s statement said the pension deficit was “not a reason in itself” for BAAF’s demise.

BAAF said in a strategy statement earlier this year that as a result of austerity cuts “traditional customers have less money to spend on purchasing BAAF’s services,”

Chief executive Caroline Selkirk said: “In the face of significant changes and prevailing economic conditions, it has sadly not been possible to sustain the organisation.”

A Charity Commission spokesman said: “The charity contacted the commission about the issues it is facing and we are considering whether we have any regulatory concerns we need to address with the trustees.”

Association of Directors of Children’s Services president Alison O’Sullivan said: “BAAF has made a significant contribution to the development of fostering and adoption services.

“The organisation has played an important role in providing many services to local authorities, voluntary adoption agencies and individuals.”

“Given that the core of BAAF’s services will continue under CoramBAAF and other agencies, the focus on fostering and adoption development won’t be lost.”

Coram has taken over BAAF services including the National Adoption Register for England, National Adoption Week and the adoption activity day programmes in England.

Services in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will continue while alternative providers are sought.

 

 

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • BAAF members should be asking a lot of questions. The demise of BAAF as an independent UK wide charity able to speak out , challenge government policy where necessary and also to support central and local governments across the UK , is a tragedy not only for the sector but also and most importantly for children, BAAF had a unique role and although Coram have an excellent reputation it is hard to see how they can fulfil the same role. What will happen to the multidisciplinary local support groups , advice service and training and consultancy for local authorities and member agencies? This fed into policy development and gave BAAF its powerful voice for best practice. The press team too is redundant.

    BAAF’s most recent published accounts for 2013-14 have been misinterpreted. They show that it generated a surplus of £0.16m. As well as its “restricted” (separately funded) services of almost £3m, it spent £6.02m against income of £6.18m. It did also have a long-term pension liability of £4.8m, although that was down from a high of £6.3m in 2010 and was no different to many other organisations. In the past BAAF has operated effectively with much slimmer reserves.

    Yes there was a very significant decline in referrals to the flagship Be My Parent service following the Munby judgment but with the input of members and staff restructuring could and should have taken place alongside coordinated efforts to influence the adoption agenda. BAAFs staff were its greatest asset and maybe they could have contributed solutions . There is much more to say. The death of BAAF was not inevitable

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  • Kids Company and BAAF - is this the beginning of a serious contraction of the charity sector?

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