The University of Sunderland’s partnership work has been highlighted by Ofsted Inspectors in a report praising the work of a North East adoption service as ‘good’.

Together for Children (TfC), which provides children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council, was inspected during September with Ofsted grading the service as ‘good’ and praising the quality of work to support children and young people.

The effectiveness of leadership and management within the adoption service was judged to be ‘outstanding’.

The partnership work between the University and TfC was highlighted as an example of “the creative, innovative and proactive ways to provide support to adoptive families and their children”.

In their first report, Ofsted Inspectors said: “The agency makes excellent use of the adoption support fund and develops highly beneficial relationships with a range of external professionals.

“This means that it is able to provide a wide range of adoption support either internally from its own staff team or via external arrangements.

“For example, the agency has close links with the local university and has benefited from training from university staff at adopter support groups.”

Stephanie Hunter, a senior lecturer in Childhood Studies in the University’s School of Social Sciences, who has collaborated on a range of work around child development and trauma with TfC and produced an evaluation of the agency’s use of the Adoption Support Fund (ASF), was delighted with the results.

“This is fantastic news for TfC, they fully deserve this grading from Ofsted and we’re delighted to be mentioned within that report,” she said.

“We believe the work we are doing is making a huge difference to the lives of young children who have already had to deal with the often traumatic experience of being parted from their birth family.

“TfC’s willingness to take on board feedback, put changes in place quickly, and a general openness and eagerness to learn has been absolutely fantastic to see.

“I truly believe the work we are doing in partnership is unlike anything happening in other areas of the country, and as a result, I believe young children and adoptive families in Sunderland are receiving some of the best after-care that is available anywhere in England.”

The adoption report praises creative, innovative and proactive ways in which support is provided to adoptive families and their children and how the agency is able to place children with their adoptive families in a timely manner with successful use of foster to adopt placements.

Anyone wishing to find out more about fostering or adoption may visit www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/families, attend a regular open evening or email enquiries@togetherforchildren.org.uk.

Read more about the Ofsted Report here…

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