TACT has been called to give oral evidence on Tuesday 5 March to the Committee of MPs considering the Children and Families Bill currently before parliament.
This is an excellent opportunity for TACT to use our expertise as service providers and policy analysts to influence this significant legislation affecting children in care. We will be able to discuss the changes that we’d like to see directly with decision makers.
For more details about our views on the Children and Families Bill, read our press release TACT response to the Children and Families Bill; a missed opportunity? and our briefing paper TACT briefing for second reading of the Children and Families Bill
Contact TACT’s Executive Director of External Affairs, Gareth Crossman, on 020 8695 8120 for more information.
ADOPTION services run by Parents And Children Together (PACT) have been rated as outstanding by the children's services inspectorate Ofsted
An inspection in January found the charity’s adoption services were judged to be outstanding across all four assessed areas.
The inspector said that PACT welcomed a diverse range of people as prospective adopters, identified their strengths and supported their development “extremely well”.
“The preparation and assessment of adopters are very effective and lead to achieving and sustaining excellent outcomes for children and young people.
“The preparation of prospective adopters as parents is grounded in research and teaches them therapeutic parenting skills. It caters for individual needs and is valued by adopters who refer back to it when parenting their children.
“Adopters have an excellent understanding, gained through their preparation and assessment, about the impact children’s early lives have had on their development. They are attuned to their children’s needs and help them to overcome their past experiences and deal with their feelings of loss.”
The report also praised PACT for placing “safeguarding children and promoting their well-being at the centre of all it does”.
“The high priority given to all aspects of its work ensures and children are safe and feel safe.”
The inspector said PACT was “highly effective in finding placements that keep brothers and sisters together”.
“Within their adoptive families they are loved for being the individuals they are. This means that they develop confidence, a sound sense of self and learn to value their uniqueness and respect the uniqueness of their brothers and sisters.”
PACT’s growth and the opening of new offices in London and Oxford in addition to the head office in Reading were also praised.
“Growth has not been at the expense of quality. The agency is more geographically diverse in the service it can offer to people wanting to adopt.”
The services provided to adopted adults tracing their birth history were also positively commended by the inspector.
“Some go on to have successful reunions and they value highly the re-establishment of relationships with people connected to them by birth. One user who has been supported in meeting their birth family said ‘my life is complete’.”
The report also highlighted the support given to PACT families who adopt from abroad: “Children from overseas develop a good sense of and understanding about their country of origin; their heritage is celebrated within their adoptive families.”
The staff team was also praised, from leaders to the administrative team. “The calibre of staff working for the agency is excellent.”
“Staff are well-trained, kept up to date with developments in adoption and committed to, and experienced in their respective roles.”
The result comes just three months after PACT’s therapeutic services for adopted and fostered children – FACTS – won Voluntary Adoption Service of the Year in the BAAF National Adoption Week Awards 2013.
PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “We are incredibly proud that our adoption service has been rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
“We have fantastic teams that work very hard to consistently deliver the very best service to families and we are delighted that their hard work has been recognised.
“The judgement recognises the many positives of the different aspects of the adoption service and reflects the contributions of every member of the wider organisation that has brought about such an encouraging and confident result.”
PACT’s Director of Adoption and Fostering Satwinder Sandhu said: “PACT continues to be a leading and high performing Voluntary Adoption Agency in the UK based on these judgements; the numbers of children placed for adoption and permanence both domestically and internationally, and the award winning FACTS services which support our consistently less than 1% disruption rate.
"The judgement is a testament to the passion and hard work of PACT staff who each played their part in ensuring we have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of hundreds of children and families with whom PACT works."
PACT finds permanent families for children in care through adoption and fostering services in London and the south east. PACT provides award-winning therapeutic services to help make placements succeed.
It also runs inspirational community projects including Alana House – a women’s community project in Reading - and Bounce Back 4 Kids, a programme for children who have witnessed domestic abuse.
TACT has produced a briefing for the second reading of the Children and Families Bill, which is due to take place in the House of Commons on 25 February 2013.
While the Bill contains a range of measures intended to improve and speed up the adoption process, we believe that it is a missed opportunity to seek improvement across the care system.
Read our briefing for more information about our thoughts on the Bill: TACT’s briefing on the ‘Children and Families Bill’ for Second Reading in the House of Commons
TACT today responded to the publication of the Children and Families Bill, seeing it as a missed opportunity.
The Bill contains a range of measures intended to improve and speed up the adoption process. Some of these, such as the introduction of improved leave and pay for adopters and increased use of personal budgets, are to be welcomed. Measures specific to children in care, such as requiring local authorities to provide Virtual Heads for children in care, are also welcome but could go further.
However, TACT believes the Bill is a missed opportunity to introduce wholesale improvement to the care system. In particular, measures to improve permanence outside of adoption, such as through the creation of an order similar to the Scottish Permanence Order for children in long term foster care, have not been considered. Neither is there any measure to improve the support offered to children and young people leaving the care system due to age. This is despite the Government’s frequent acceptance of the need for improvement. Even the focus on adoption does not properly address concerns over the lack of ongoing support given to adoptive families.
Commenting on the Bill, TACT CEO Kevin Williams said;
“Opportunities to effectively improve the care system are rare. Unfortunately, the Government’s excessive focus on adoption means that this Bill looks like a missed opportunity to help the large majority of children in care for who adoption is not the right option. In particular, there is nothing to help achieve permanence through long term foster care or to improve support for those leaving care towards independence. There is some positive change taking place but, without effectively addressing the issue of adoption support, TACT’s concern is that even the adoption changes will fall short of what might be achieved.”
For further information contact Gareth Crossman, TACT Executive Director of External Affairs on 07976 389 925 or 020 8695 8120
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