A REGIONAL adoption agency will be set up by Shropshire Council and three neighbouring authorities.

The council’s cabinet is being asked to sign off the setting up of the agency at a meeting on Wednesday.

It will see the council work in-line with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and Telford & Wrekin Council in a bid to find secure homes for at-risk children.

A report by council officer Karen Bradshaw, says the agency will give youngsters a sense of stability and commitment.

It says: “In April 2017, responding to the requirement to form a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA), Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council joined together to facilitate a collaborative working arrangement, through the establishment of the North Midlands Regional Adoption & Permanency Partnership.

“The partnership came together because of the four local authorities shared vision to create an arrangement which goes beyond adoption and includes fostering, special guardianship and connected persons.

“The partnership has a shared mission to lead the local, regional and national agenda in respect of achieving permanence for all looked after children who require it.

“The partnership is proposing a collaborative regional permanency arrangement which combines the expertise of the four local authorities, working together to find local, caring, stable and loving homes for looked after children who require permanence, giving a child a sense of stability, continuity, commitment and identity.”

It adds: “The partnership will be a unique arrangement, creating a sustainable system which operates on a regional footprint, maximising resources, capacity and flexibility, which leads to improvements in service delivery, effective practice and long-term outcomes for children, while maintaining the independence of each individual local authority.”

The cabinet is expected to agree to the setting up of the agency.

Ms Bradshaw added: Most children will have their need for stability and nurturing met by their birth parents and will not require support from, or come to the attention of, local authority children’s services.

“A small number of children will come into the care of the local authority and will require long term provision away from their birth parents.

“Where children require long term care, local authority children’s services will prioritise the achievement of permanency.

“Failing to achieve permanency for looked after children can lead to a detrimental impact on their short, medium and long-term outcomes, including a direct impact on their sense of security, continuity, commitment and identity.”