On a really basic level what we measure we value, for example I know exactly how much cake there is in the house and I have no idea the quantity of lettuce we currently have. It reveals a lot about my priorities.
With that in my mind I was really happy to attend a working group today considering the data that the Adoption Leadership Board would like Local Authorities and Voluntary Adoption Agencies to gather for them. They already gather data in relation to the numbers of children waiting and the length of time that they take to travel through the system to adoption amongst lots of other stuff. We also have the data that the Adoption Support Fund has revealed about the availability of services.
One of the key pillars of the Government’s policy on adoption is to improve the post adoption support that adopted children and adoptive families receive and gathering data in relation to who is accessing the service, how long for, how long that takes and the nature of the support they receive seems like an obvious thing to do. I'm not even going to mention the assessment of Adoption of Support Needs and all that we don't know about that.
Of course the specific data that is collected can reveal more than just facts and figures it can lead to understanding of the challenges that children and families face and help those commissioning services to improve and develop them. I’d hope that it would also give indication to themes around who accesses service and in what circumstances. Not insignificantly it a clear statement to LAs that this is important and we are watching.
I’m confident that as we transition into Regional Adoption Agencies recording this data will become an accepted and welcome tool for improvement and if necessary to bring to account. Like all of this stuff, there are hoops and hurdles that need to be navigated and some proposals that may or may not make it to the final draft.
It's been a peculiar time nationally with changes and a shifting and uncertain political landscape and like many I've wondered how this will impact on on the political good will that adoption generally has. Today has encouraged me that there remains a willingness to focus on this and I hope that the benefits our children receive will spill into the lives of other children who live with kin or guardians.
On a lighter note it was good to see #whathughsuptonow and he’s looking like a lean mean cycling machine.