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Looked after children will have more chance of finding permanent, loving homes under the new arrangement, as four authorities join forces.

New approach to help vulnerable children

Proposals to join forces with other local authorities to increase the chances of looked after children finding permanent, loving homes have been backed by senior politicians.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet today supported working with Shropshire Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Telford and Wrekin Council to develop the North Midlands Regional Adoption & Permanency Partnership.

The unique partnership will have the opportunity to maximise resources, cover a larger area and offer greater flexibility in placing children in happy homes via adoption, fostering or special guardianship.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

A great deal of our work focuses on early intervention so we can keep families together wherever possible.

However, where that’s unavoidable and we cannot return children to their own homes we are committed to finding them loving, safe and secure ones elsewhere.

Our children’s service was recently rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted and this joint initiative allows us to build on prioritising the best interests of our children.”

Under the initiative children from Staffordshire will remain the responsibility of the county council, but the joint project will provide a wider range of prospective adopters and carers to find the right home.

The partnership, which should be operational by next year, moves beyond the initial requirement by the Department for Education to provide a combined adoption service to also share resources for fostering, special guardianship and connected persons.

The four partners are receiving financial support from the DfE to create the Partnership, the first of its kind in the country. Currently Staffordshire County Council has 1,164 looked after children.