Northamptonshire adoption service 'inadequate', Ofsted says

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The adoption service in Northamptonshire has been branded "inadequate" by Ofsted.

The county council-run adoption agency has been widely criticised in a report following a review in March.

It said the council took too long to identify children who would benefit from adoption and some children waited too long to be placed with a family.

Northamptonshire County Council said it was already taking steps to improve the service.

The report comes just weeks after the council's system for stopping the neglect and abuse of children was heavily criticised by Ofsted.

That report was carried out after concerns were raised in February during a joint inspection of the county's child protection services by bodies including the police, the Care Quality Commission and the county council.

'Innovative'

A spokesperson for Northamptonshire County Council said: "The findings of the adoption inspection are consistent with the earlier findings which highlighted systematic weaknesses across child protection services.

"As a result, we've already incorporated the necessary actions into our improvement programme."

Ofsted said the council used "innovative ways" of finding families and was open to try new approaches to speed up the placement of children with families who could meet their needs.

It also praised the work of the service in preparing families to adopt children.

The report stated: "There are examples of good practice with children, adopters and adults involved with the service.

"However, an adequate quality of service is currently not assured and there is evidence of some poor practice and dissatisfaction with the service from adopters."

It adds that "family finding for children is not carried out with sufficient urgency, which contributes to the delay in placing children."

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