Five years on from its launch, Adopt South, the Regional Adoption Agency for Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton, is celebrating this milestone and its successes so far.

The innovative adoption agency, which brought together local authority adoption services in the Solent region to enable greater opportunities for children to find adoptive parents, puts children at the heart of everything it does. Since launching in 2019, Adopt South has:

· Placed 542 children with their forever family

· Kept 79 sibling groups together by having them adopted as groups

· Approved 517 families to adopt.

Innovations have included:

· Setting up a mentoring scheme to pair all applicants with an adoptive parent to offer support and guidance

· Introducing support groups for single and LGBT+ adopters

· Speeding up the process of approving an adoptive parent to within five days of submitting an application – one of the fastest processes in the UK.

· Employing an events co-ordinator to organise family fun days, picnics and support for young people and their families

· Introducing a dedicated training team

· Establishing a multi-disciplinary team focusing on children’s emotional wellbeing and considering the child’s needs before deciding options.

Rachel Reynolds, Head of Adopt South, said: “On behalf of the whole team at Adopt South, I’d like to thank everyone who has wholeheartedly supported us over the last five years both in our working practice and by sharing the need for more forever families with friends and family, and to reassure both adopters and children that we will continue to be innovative, supportive and inclusive.”

“Our journey over the past five years has been inspiring and humbling as our dedicated teams have worked in new and exciting ways to deliver better outcomes for our children, with great success due to our shared vision and hard work.”

“We have run campaigns focusing on specific children who are harder to place because they are sibling groups or who have disabilities, and each of these campaigns has resulted in a surge in enquiries not only about these children, but from dozens of potential parents who may never have thought they could be considered as adopters.

“We have constantly kept Adopt South in people’s minds through a combination of high-profile events such as the Great South Run, where we have a team of runners every year, and through building links with our communities by partnering with sporting organisations and faith groups. During Covid, we didn’t slow down. We took our engagement online, with virtual Q&A Sessions and busy online support groups, and we have embraced technology such as Virtual reality training to help potential parents understand a child’s point of view.