ADOPT South West has achieved a prestigious status for its work in finding caring families for children in the region.

The regional adoption agency has gained recognition for the high standards of its fostering for adoption, earning the “Early Permanence Quality Mark Award”.

Fostering for adoption (which is also called Early Permanence) aims to provide children in local council care with a temporary foster placement but with the potential for this to become their permanent home through adoption.

This approach ensures they receive consistent, good quality care, placing them with their future adoptive family at the earliest possible stage and protecting them from experiencing multiple moves within the care system.

The numbers of children who benefit from Fostering for Adoption placements at Adopt South West is consistently above the national average.

Amanda White, Interim Head of Adopt South West, said: “We’re pleased to have gained this recognition of the quality mark. We want adopted children in our region to have the best possible futures with their prospective adopters and we believe that Early Permanence provides this by ensuring greater continuity and reducing disruption.

“The majority of our adopters consider being Early Permanence carers, so that our children experience fewer moves in their lives and can be placed with a family as early as possible. It lays the foundations for greatly improved health and emotional wellbeing for babies and young children, reducing uncertainty and providing vital stability during their early years of development.”

Local adopters and former foster carers, Danny and Rita, are among those who adopted a child through fostering for adoption after they decided they wanted to offer a child a permanent home.

Rita said: “Fostering for adoption is something that we felt suited us as a couple and a family. As foster carers we had children coming in and a lot of them had been through many different homes. For us, we as a family saw that effect on a child.

“Moving from home to home has devastating emotional effects as they can struggle to build attachments with you. We felt we could do something about this and we felt fostering for adoption would be the way to go.

“With fostering for adoption you take on a child with the intention of adopting that child. You basically do all the things you would for fostering and once approved you’re registered as an adopter but you’re a foster carer at the same time. A matching panel makes sure you as a family and that child are a good match to make sure everything is right for that child you’re potentially adopting.”

The Early Permanence Quality award means that Adopt South West now has the status for the next three years.

Adopt South West is a partnership made up of Devon County Council, Somerset Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council.