Claire Easton, Fiona Walker, Liz Philips, Anneka Dawson, Eleanor Stevens
25 June 2012
Across England, councils with their partner organisations are looking at ways in which they can provide high quality and timely foster care and adoption services. With this in mind, the Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned NFER to carry out a good practice review of innovative approaches to fostering and adoption.
The study provides information on existing models of practice and explores councils' different models of working; their benefits and challenges and the actual or anticipated impact of their work. The research team identified examples of good practice by carrying out a desk review. This activity was followed by a series of case studies, selected to offer a cross-section of council type, region and different types of practice and length of involvement in their given area.
The seven case studies show how some councils have adopted a business model approach to bring about improvements, while others are working in small or large consortia to share practice and create economies of scale to reduce costs. Ultimately all councils wanted to:
The issues and challenges facing councils in this area appear to be similar. Generally, these relate to improving outcomes for children and enhancing provision, whilst managing increased numbers of looked after children and budget cuts.
- improve looked after children’s outcomes
- increase the pools of carers available for both foster and adoptive
- placements and improve the support offered to them
- enhance service provision and front line practice
- reduce delays in finding children an adoptive family.