Eighteen charities join forces to fund adoption services for hard-to-place children

Scheme called It's All About Me has been developed by Jim Clifford of Baker Tilly and the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies

JIm Clifford
JIm Clifford

A group of 18 charities has today launched a 10-year scheme to fund adoption services for hard-to-place children after raising £2m through a social impact bond to deliver the scheme.

It’s All About Me was developed by the accountancy firm Baker Tilly and the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies. It will work with local authorities that are seeking adoption for children who are considered hard to place because of their age or ethnic backgrounds, or because they are seeking placement with siblings.

Voluntary organisations will find, train and support families to adopt these children, and will receive payment based on their success in securing permanent placements.

Charities will initially work with 100 children a year, but organisers hope that this could rise to more than 300 a year.

Initial funding for their work will come from two separate £1m investments from the social lenders Big Society Capital and Bridges Ventures. If the scheme increases in size, it will reopen early next year to a wider group of investors in order to raise an additional £3.5m.

Local authorities will pay up to £54,000 for a successful adoption, in several instalments, ending after the placement has lasted for two years.

From this money, investors will receive a return of 4 per cent a year, together with a final payment that could be up to 9 per cent of their investment.

The money will also be used to pay for an endowment that will allow the scheme to run after the 10-year period concludes.

Of the 18 charities involved, eight will take part as initial providers, including Action for Children, After Adoption and Faith in Families.

The scheme was developed by Jim Clifford, head of not-for-profit advisory at Baker Tilly and chair-designate of It’s All About Me, who is also a father to nine adopted children. Clifford said he was confident of the scheme’s success because of the initial interest shown by potential investors in the project.

He said the scheme would create a more efficient market in adoption by guaranteeing that parents of harder-to-place children received more support.

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