LOCAL authority adoption services in Worcestershire have joined forces with three other authorities to form a regional agency in a bid to improve the services it offers to children and adoptive families.

The move follows the Government’s commitment to improve adoption services across the country by 2020 and sees Worcestershire link up with Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull to for the Adoption Central England (ACE) agency.

In its report Adoption A Vision for Change, published nearly two years ago, the Government said: “What matters most is that children receive stable and high quality care. Children who enter care are vulnerable and have often already experienced abuse, neglect and disruption in their young lives. They need and deserve a social care system that acts in their best interests and provides them with the long term stability and quality of care they need, with minimal delay.

“Research tells us that permanence, stability, quality of care and avoidance of delay are the factors which most affect children’s welfare and their future chances in life. This is what we must keep at the forefront of our minds when tasked with the responsibility of making decisions about the care of vulnerable children.

“Children still wait too long for adoption, and too many families still miss out on vital support services that can make a huge difference. The decline in adoption numbers means there is an urgent need to accelerate our reform of the adoption system now.”

Warwickshire County Council will be hosting the new regional service and bringing the four services together will provide opportunities increase the range of services available for adoptive families.

ACE will provide:

? advice and information

? regular support groups for adopters

? workshops and training on topics of interest

? services in relation to therapeutic needs of a child

? the Adopter’s Mentoring Service

? packages of therapeutic intervention or parenting support

Anyone can be considered as potential adopters providing they are over 21 years. They can be married or single, employed or not in work, of any race, religion or sexuality. They will however need plenty of energy, humour, patience and determination to giver a child or children the support they need.

ACE has a broad range of children who need a loving permanent adoptive home, they include babies to 10 year olds, sibling groups and children with a level of disability and those of minority ethnic backgrounds.

Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children and Families for Worcestershire County Council Councillor Andy Roberts said: "Worcestershire County Council is very proud to be involved in Adoption Central England. It provides us with a great platform to continue our support of children in care, which was underlined in our Children and Young People's Plan. Adoption is a great journey for new families to undertake together, once the right placement is found for all involved."