The government have praised Achieving for Children and Richmond Council for their efficiency when dealing with child adoption.

Robert Goodwill MP, the government minister for children and families has recognised the local services for reducing the average time it takes from a child needing to be adopted and identifying a suitable family.

In his letter, he congratulated the service on their “continued focus on improving services and outcomes for children in local authority care”.

Cllr Susan Chappell, Richmond Council cabinet member for children’s services and schools, said: “Ensuring that all children live in a safe and loving environment is one of the most important responsibilities of any council.

“I am pleased that the Government has recognised the improvements we have made in this area.

“The Adoption Consortium ensures a joined up approach across boroughs – searching across a wider geographical area for potential families. By sharing skills and best practice across all the local expert teams we have been able to reduce the time it takes to identify families – whilst supporting the children, their families and the adopters throughout.”

The improvements are a direct result of an enhanced consortium set up by Richmond, Kingston, Sutton and Merton councils to improve practice and speed up the process of adoption.

By working together since its launch in 2014, the four councils have been able to share information, develop good practice and participate in joint advertising and recruitment campaigns.

In addition, the AFC has locally established a talented adoption and permanency team who are able to support the children, their families and adopters throughout their journey.

This has not only resulted in a reduction in the amount of time it takes for children to be adopted, but also a rise in the number of adopters who have agreed to consider fostering as part of the process.