Further information:

www.westsussex.gov.uk/adoption

Telephone: 0330 222 7777

October 2018 performance 
The October data shows this as being 472 days. This is an increase of days from September (465). The impact of adoption orders of children with long periods between entering care and adoption orders impacts on averages. The timescale for this KPI remains high due to Adoption Orders granted for children who have specific needs (age, complex needs, disability) and/ or challenges within adoptive family such as adopter separation pre order, child placed following disruption
September 2018 performance
The average time between children entering care and moving in with their adopters has improved from 476 to 465 days in September. Between 1st October 2015 and 30th September 2018, there were 118 adoptions. There are 4 children who are identified as ‘harder to place’ over this period, if we discount them then this indicator would be 413.2 days, which is below the national average of 426 days and below the England average of 532 days.
Children Looked After - September 2018 performance
Slight increase from last month, this data remains steady with no significant increases.
August 2018 performance
The August data shows this as being 476 days. This is a very slight decrease of days from July (477). The impact of adoption orders of children with long periods between entering care and adoption orders impacts on averages. The timescale for this KPI remains high due to Adoption Orders granted for children who have specific needs (age, complex needs, disability) and/ or challenges within adoptive family such as adopter separation pre order, child placed following disruption.
July 2018 performance
The average time between children entering care and moving in with their adopters has increased from 462 days in June to 476.93 in July. This indicator has increased for July because of a child who was in foster care for 7 years before he was placed for adoption with his foster carers and subsequently adopted by them in July 2018. This indicator is above the national average of 426 days for July but is below the national average of 532. The high number of children with adoption care plans in West Sussex alongside the national challenge of adopter sufficiency is likely to contribute to the performance in this area. We are working closely with our Adoption South East partners to ensure that we consider adopters from within the region when there is no West Sussex adoptive family available for a child. We are developing the Adoption website to attract more interest to West Sussex as an adoption agency.
Quarter 1 - June 2018 performance
The average time between children entering care and moving in with their adopters has gradually decreased over recent months. The indicator of 462 days for West Sussex is below the statistical neighbour, SE and England averages for 2015-17. The figure for this year has been affected by Adoption Orders made in the last quarter, where there were periods between  805 days and 1172 days between Placement Order and Adoption Order for 4 children, 2 of whom have disabilities and 2 of whom experienced previous adoption disruptions. 6 children adopted in the past year spent a period less than 250 days between becoming looked after and moving in with their adopters.
Quarter 4 - March 2018 performance
The number of days between children entering care and being placed for adoption has decreased from 483.3 to 476.05 over the last quarter.  In Q4, 5 children were adopted, with the average days for this measure being 401.8 days which is well below the English average. The 11 children who were adopted in the quarter preceding this period (Jan-March) had an average of 521.45 days which impacted on the higher figure in the last quarter.
Of the 5 children adopted in Q4, all 5 children are white British, 2 boys and 3 girls, 4 aged under 3 and one boy aged 7 at adoption. This child was looked after for 656 days prior to his adoption, with a longer time taken to identify adopters due to his level of need. The other children adopted had an average of 338 days for this measure which is 88 days shorter than the national threshold.
 The West Sussex adoption team is dedicated to placing children with adoption care plans with the right families as soon as possible. There is a nationwide challenge with adopter sufficiency which is particularly acute in the South East of England. West Sussex Adoption Service is planning an investment bid to attract more adopters to meet the needs of the children who need adoptive families, from recruitment through to post adoption support. This is an integral part in ensuring that West Sussex will be in a strong position as a member of the regional adoption agency, Adoption South East, from April 2020.

West Sussex Adoption is working in partnership with Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and Surrey Local Authority Adoption Agencies to develop Adoption South East. The aim of this regional partnership is to share resources and expertise so that 80% of Adoption South East children are placed within the region, with increased choice of adopters, reduced waiting times and more successful adoptions.

February 2018 performance

This indicator has increased by 6 days over the past month due to a small number of children with significant needs who had spent a considerable time in foster care and then with their adopters prior to adoption orders being granted. Further detail will follow in the quarterly update.

Quarter 3 - December 2017 performance

The average time between a child entering care and moving in with their adoptive family has increased in the last quarter to 483.3 days. This increased timescale can be attributed to two children with adoption care plans who were adopted in Quarter 3: Child 1 is a child with special needs who was placed for adoption out of county after a long search; her prospective adopters then separated which led to delinking, then an assessment of adoptive mother as a single adopter took place prior to an Adoption Order being granted.

Child 2 experienced delays in being placed for adoption due to his additional needs. He had been looked after for 2 years before a Placement Order was granted. He was older when he was placed for adoption; there were concerns around presenting behaviours indicating early trauma and a 4 year gap between placement and adoption because of these needs.

There are currently 35 children in adoptive placements pre Adoption Order. Based on the likelihood of Adoption Orders for 15 of these children being granted within the next quarter, the prediction is that this measure will decrease to around 465 days by the end of the year which will make the year end prediction Amber. This will improve progress towards the target of 426 days by the end of March 2019.

Quarter 2 - September 2017 performance

In September 2017, the Local Authority was taking an average of 461.73 days from children being placed in foster care to moving in with their adoptive families. There have been a small number of children for whom plans have taken longer to achieve given their needs, but these plans have been in their best interests. The national threshold for this measure is 426 days, which is the West Sussex target for its three year average by the end of March 2019. This target has been met for the West Sussex children adopted so far in this financial year. We continue to perform better than both national and southeast averages as well as our statistical neighbours.

We are in this position thanks to a dedicated workforce who ensure adoption is considered alongside other options for children at an early stage.The number of children in West Sussex with adoption care plans is rising. The challenge currently is recruiting local adopters for local children given that adopter numbers are decreasing nationwide. The progression of plans to develop a regional Adoption Agency, Adoption South East (ASE), with Surrey, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove will provide the opportunity to match all ASE children with adoption care plans with adopters from the region by 2020, which will improve placement choice and timeliness.

Quarter 1 - June 2017 performance

There is a 409 days average for the 7 children adopted in the first quarter of 2017 from entering care to being placed for adoption, evidencing that we are placing children in a timely manner. There are historic children from the past three years whose timescales from entering care to being placed for adoption have been significantly longer than we would like, but given their specific needs,these plans have been in their best interests.

The main priority for the Adoption Service currently is in recruiting a larger pool of adopters to meet the needs of the increased number of children with adoption care plans. There has been increased marketing activity and there is more capacity in Stage 1 Adoption to respond to enquirers in a timely manner. Alongside this, capacity within the Adoption team is being reviewed to ensure that we are able to progress applications expediently.

The Adoption Partnership is already sharing information events and preparation groups, and the first Adoption Exchange event has taken place, with the plan to hold these events 3 times a year.

Quarter 4 - March 2017 performance

In the year 2016-2017 , West Sussex has achieved adoption for 48 children against its target of 40 children, which is a significant increase on the previous year’s total of 33 adopted children. 13 of the children adopted over the past year had been placed for adoption for up to 18 months prior to Adoption Orders being granted, reasons for which included children with complex needs, older children and children with disabilities being adopted by their foster carers after being in placement for some time. Social workers within Adoption have shown a high level of commitment to working in partnership with their Children Looked After colleagues, in tracking children with plans for permanency through monthly meetings and with the support of the Permanency Planning Co-ordinator. These systems have enabled workers to identify adopters at an early stage wherever possible and to look further afield as soon as possible for family finding for children whose needs cannot be met within West Sussex resources.

There has been a 60% increase in Care Proceedings within West Sussex over the past two years, which in turn has increased the number of children with adoption care plans. There has been increased publicity around adoption to advise the public that West Sussex would like to hear from families interested in adoption, and that there is in the region of 50 children from babies upwards with a plan for adoption. The Recruitment Strategy is under review, with increased social media presence in place and monthly review meetings to ascertain the impact of marketing upon recruitment.