WEST Sussex County Council’s adoption service has been judged as good with some outstanding features in an Ofsted inspection carried out earlier this year.
The inspector found the service was well managed and provides a good service to children, birth parents, adopted adults and adoptive parents.
The report described the process for recruitment, preparation, assessment and approval as “extremely thorough” with “robust scrutiny”.
It added: “Adoptive families are well supported, both financially and by the creative use of services.
“Birth families and adopted adults also receive a sensitive and supportive service from committed professionals.
“Birth families are, wherever possible, involved in planning for their children and their contribution is valued and recorded.”
Peter Evans, county council member for children and families, said: “I am delighted we have achieved this rating in our inspection – congratulations to all involved.
“Our adoption team provide a vital service and it is reassuring for residents to know they will be working with a team of the highest standard when considering taking the life-changing decision to adopt a child.”
The service was also said to have “excellent support” from the team’s medical advisor, who is a community paediatrician.
The report added: “Every effort is made to find a placement that will meet each child’s needs.
“The adoption team works hard to support their colleagues in other teams to ensure they produce high-quality reports and the needs of the child are kept paramount throughout the process.
“There is close liaison between the adoption team and all other agencies involved, to provide a joined-up approach.”
The council was rated outstanding in the category of “helping children achieve well and enjoy what they do”.
Ofsted said there was a “whole service commitment to listening to children” but recommended the council introduce a clear mechanism to record the views of children.
Mr Evans said: “Adoption is open to more people than you might think.
“The key things the council considers are not age, gender and marital status, but whether you have the love, resilience and understanding.
“The county council offers help and support before, during and after the adoption process.
“In an ideal world every child would grow up in a stable environment loved by those around them.
“Sadly that isn’t always the case, which is why we always welcome prospective families seriously considering adoption.”
Anyone who would like to learn more about adoption can visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/adoption.