Meet the team
We spoke to Sue Lowndes, Managing Director of Coram's Adoption and Permenant Families service. Find out more about her role below.
What is your role at Coram?
I recently joined as Managing Director of Coram’s Adoption and Permanent Families service, a very well-established voluntary adoption agency providing adoption recruitment, assessment and support in London and surrounding areas and the East Midlands.
I am responsible for heading up Coram Ambitious for Adoption, London’s first Regional Adoption Agency. This means that Coram works in partnership with several local authorities across London to deliver the adoption services on their behalf.
Regional adoption agencies are being introduced across England but what is unique about this arrangement is that Coram is the only voluntary adoption agency to lead a regional agency on behalf of a number of local authorities. This is important because it brings together all the very best of what can be delivered through a voluntary adoption agency in partnership with the very best that can be delivered by local authorities.
We are offering a front door for all adoption enquiries and assessment at our Coram headquarters, as well as our high quality support and access to therapeutic services through the Coram Gateway. As a regional adoption agency our adoption and social workers work within the local authority setting to deliver family finding and local adoption support. They work together with the local authorities’ children’s social workers to enable the matching of children and adopters, and to ensure that adoptive families get the support they need.
What did you do before you came to Coram?
I’ve had a very long career in children’s social work and have always focused on adoption, fostering and kinship care, an area of social work practice that I continue to be inspired by. I have been working in a number of local authorities in the last 25 years, and my most recent post was as head of the adoption and fostering service in Hertfordshire County Council. I’m bringing all that knowledge into this new and exciting role at Coram, to deliver a regional adoption service and thriving voluntary adoption agency.
Why did you choose the role at Coram?
As soon as I saw the role I felt it was right for me. I have a long-standing relationship with Coram as I have often come here for events, It’s a place of innovation and knowledge in relation to adoption and other areas of family placement work. This is a very positive environment to work in with talented and committed staff. I knew immediately that this is a place I could best use my skills and make my home as it were.
What are your first priorities in your new role?
My first priority is getting to know everyone I’ll be working with and forming strong relationships with my colleagues at Coram and my colleagues within our local authority partnerships. We have a clear model of co-production in our work, so I’ll also be working closely with our adopters and young people on service development.
I’ll be looking at the recruitment of new staff and making sure that we can get started on our regional adoption agency as soon as possible. One of the strong motivators for me to take on this post is to drive up the sufficiency of adopter recruitment to ensure we have enough adopters for the children waiting.
We also want to ensure that all of our adopters have access to really high quality adoption support, and that we have a timely process for getting children waiting matched with adopters.
What are currently the main challenges within the adoption sector?
The main challenge in the sector, for both voluntary adoption agencies and local authorities, is ensuring we have enough adopters available to match to the children who are waiting. Another challenge is making sure we have adoption support services which are sustainable and easily accessible to support our adoptive families.
The other key thing we must remember is that while there are changes in the way adoption is delivered through regionalisation, we must not ever lose sight of children who are waiting to be placed with adoptive families. We must find them a good match in families where they will be happy and are able to thrive.
What is your vision for Coram Ambitious for Adoption?
Our vision is for Coram Ambitious for Adoption to thrive and deliver on our key priorities so that we can find adopters for the children waiting and match them in a timely way, and can support our adopters to the very best of our ability. We want to make sure we always deliver an outstanding service for everyone.
We want also to be able to make an effective contribution to the development of adoption services in England and demonstrate that we have a model that has lots of strengths and that others can learn from.
Do you have a message for anyone considering adopting with Coram?
If you’re thinking about adoption, I would really encourage you to come to one of our information events, to learn more about the process, how we work and how we can support you as adopters. You can also take a look at our Adoption Information Pack to get an idea of what to expect.
I hope you’ll be encouraged by Coram’s unique offer, our friendly and experienced team and the support and guidance we can give you throughout your journey to becoming a family and beyond.