Analysis of Costs in Traditional and Early Permanence Adoption Routes

A newly completed project report exploring the costs of adoption in early permanence and traditional adoption routes is now available. This project created an opportunity to re-examine costs, collect current time-use data from the social care personnel involved in adoption and update the costs involved in the social care processes and activity involved in placing a child for adoption. This project builds on work that was begun in 2005-2015. In 2017 legislation was introduced requiring all local authorities (LAs) to become part of a regional adoption agency (RAA). The new regional agencies brought major changes to the structure and organisation of adoption services. One of the main innovations has been the development of early permanence.  

This small-scale project involved two RAAs and two LAs. Time-use data from social care personnel was collected for adoption processes, and unit costs based on the average salary paid by the participating services (plus oncosts and overheads) were estimated. This demonstrated a small difference in costs between the two routes to adoption as they related to the adopter and child routes – when considering adoption only activity. The real cost drivers were associated with looked after children costs, which included fees and allowances paid for placement types. Analysis indicated that the duration of the child’s journey in care to adoption was a leading factor in the cost difference between the traditional and EP adoption routes.