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A consultation process on its proposals for inspection of adoption and fostering agencies has been launched by Ofsted.

The proposals focus on the experiences of and outcomes for children, and views are being sought from interested parties to help determine the final nature of the inspection system that is charged with assuring quality and improving provision.

The proposed changes reflect the new national minimum standards and statutory guidance introduced by the Government in April this year. While inspection will continue to ensure that adoption and fostering agencies comply with regulatory requirements, there will be an increased focus on the quality of services and the difference these make to children’s lives in supporting them to grow up in secure and loving families.

For adoption, Ofsted is proposing to “involve children routinely and directly in the inspection of adoption services and continue where possible to meet with birth parents”. The Office will report on how successfully agencies identify children for whom adoption is the right option and the approval and placement of children with adoptive families.

The proposals also include a move to dramatically reduce the amount of notice of inspection that services receive to ten days. Currently adoption agencies get eight weeks and fostering agencies six weeks notice.

The consultation for inspection of adoption and fostering agencies runs until 31 August and key findings will be published at the end of the year. An Ofsted statement says that “the results from the consultation and a series of pilot inspections will inform and shape the new inspection frameworks which will come into force on April 2012”.

For access to the online consultation process, visit:
www.ofsted.gov.uk

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