THE Clackmannanshire Adoption Service has until the end of the month to make improvements, after a scathing report from the Care Inspectorate.

The Wee County team was told to “repair working relationships and restore the confidence of caregiver families” in the wake of a short-notice inspection last year.

Requirements, to be complied with by January 31, were placed on the service after it was graded “unsatisfactory” on how well it supported people's wellbeing.

Inspectors found “major weaknesses in critical aspects of performance that require immediate remedial action to improve experiences and outcomes for people”.

While children in the service experienced “nurturing care from committed care-givers and were treated with dignity and respect” – benefitting from access to advocacy and with some positive collaborations – inspectors said that staffing issues and workload pressures had impacted on the quality of support provided to adoptive families.

This in turn impacted on the quality of care provided for children.

The report said: “Adopters were not benefiting from contact with the service.

“We saw no evidence of adoption support groups or ongoing relationships and proactive engagement with adoptive families.

“We were unsure how families were made aware of how to access support.

“Limited contact with adoptive families meant there was no regular review of post adoption support plans or adoption allowances.

“Relationships between the care-givers and the service were fractured.

“We heard from staff that at the time of the inspection Clackmannanshire Adoption Service is not in a position to provide support to adoptive families.

“The service needs to address the concerns of care-givers to build supportive relationships.”

This week, the Advertiser asked Clackmannanshire Council if the service was on track to meet the requirements.

Cllr Wendy Hamilton said: “An inspection of Clackmannanshire Council's Fostering and Adoption Service took place in autumn 2022.

“The inspection report found important strengths as well as identifying a number of areas for improvement and requirements for the service.

“An improvement plan is in place, and work is underway to ensure that all the requirements are addressed by the January 31, 2023.

“We will continue to take forward the recommended areas of improvement and support staff through service development.”

On top of having to improve the quality of support to caregiver families, the service is also to ensure the early identification of vulnerabilities and timeous implementation of supports to mitigate risks which contribute to poor outcomes.

It must also ensure that child protection is robust.

The service has also been told to ensure that sibling relationships are thoroughly assessed, in particular if they are placed with separate families.

Leadership, the staff team and the quality of care and support planned were all rated “weak” in key areas, despite inspectors identifying “some strengths”.

Requirements have previously been placed on the service by inspectors in 2019.

The report said: “During this inspection we found that whilst there had been some recent efforts to progress young people’s plans and address drift and delays, there remained concerns about the lack of robust tracking systems which would support this work.”

Visit for the report.