To receive the Annual Report by Aspire Adoption Agency.
The Corporate Parenting Board received the Aspire Adoption Agency Annual Report 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.
The Service Manager informed the Board the Annual Report was from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 and covered the 3 previous councils, the six monthly Performance Update only covered Dorset Council.
The Chairman complimented the service given the comments on pages 66/67 of the report relating to the Ofsted inspections.
The Service Manager confirmed they had brought 3 separate services together and their underlying policies and were the second Regional Adoption Agency to go live. Aspire were very much under the spotlight and part of a longitudinal government assessment were keen to know what was working. The Agency were one of 7 case studies, and Ofsted were positive about the way they were performing last year.
The Chairman asked how things were settling with the 2 new Councils and whether the Service Manager saw any threat to being a Regional Adoption Agency as she had heard rumours that BCP were looking to the east, what would be the outcome. The Service Manager confirmed they were finding their way, Dorset was in the middle of a restructure and she knew they would be working with different teams. With regard to rumours about BCP Aspire would be in trouble as they only looked after 2 authorities it would be a threat and they would not be viable if they looked after only one local authority, she had not heard anything as yet and reminded the Board Aspire had entered into a 3 year agreement. She felt it would be a shame if arrangements were changed as at present everything was under one roof and had kept a local concept. Aspire had recently taken on responsibility to provide special guardianship case responsibility for BCP.
One member asked how Aspire were working to ensure foster families were diverse and all inclusive. The Service Manager confirmed she had information she would send. In terms of ethnicity that reflected the population, there were a lot of same sex relationships, disability assessing, single people. It was very similar to the national picture. She mentioned it was difficult to recruit in the west of the county. Aspire worked in partnership with voluntary adoption agencies and with Families for Children the adoption charity in Devon.
The Chairman thought an article ought to be placed in the next Dorset Council newsletter.
One member asked how many children were adopted on an annual basis. The Service Manager confirmed there were approximately 60 children adopted.
The Executive Director of People – Children mentioned she had seen a film about an adopted mother and her experiences and thought if the Board saw the film they would understand the barriers for adopted people. It related to a local parent in Dorset. The Chairman considered it would be a very good idea to show as a one off as part of member training.
1. That the Aspire Adoption Service Manager provide the Board with the information relating to agency’s inclusiveness.
2. That the Chairman arrange for an article to be placed in the next Dorset Council newsletter relating to Aspire.
3. That the Corporate Parenting Officer arrange the viewing of the film relating to an adopted mother as part of members training.