Our Work

CVAA is first and foremost a membership organisation. Our membership is made up of 27 voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs) across the four nations of the UK, along with 2 associate members (adoption support agencies) and a number of subscribers.

We represent our members and advocate for them in national forums. We bring member agencies together to collaborate, and we support them to work in partnership with local authorities (LAs) and regional adoption agencies (RAAs). We draw on our members’ vast experience of adoption to facilitate the sharing of best practice across the adoption system. We create space for professionals in the voluntary adoption sector to network and learn from one another.

Our small, dynamic team is based in London but has a national footprint. Our Board of Trustees is comprised of member agency CEOs and an independent Chair.

Our members Meet the team

Our vision, mission and charitable objectives

Our vision is for adopted children, young people and adults to lead happy fulfilling lives in loving families supported by a strong voluntary adoption sector.

CVAA’s role in achieving this vision is to champion and support VAAs in their life-changing work. We are wholly committed to adopter choice and the vital contribution of a thriving VAA sector, able to provide the best possible support for birth and adoptive families in their lifelong adoption journeys.

Our mission is to achieve excellence in the adoption system through harnessing the collective expertise, commitment and innovation of the voluntary adoption sector, working together for children, families and adopted adults.

VAAs put children first, always. In our lobbying and advocacy, CVAA upholds that central principle and works to amplify the voice and influence of VAAs using their collective wisdom and the integrity of their work to achieve positive change for children.

Our charitable objectives are:

  1. To develop standards of excellence in practice and management throughout the voluntary sector.
  2. To promote cooperation between voluntary and statutory sectors in the adoption system and reduce barriers to interagency placements.
  3. To influence policy and practice in the wider adoption system at local, regional and national levels.

Key documents

Our history

The voluntary adoption sector came together to form CVAA in 1992, in order to strengthen agencies’ collective voice and to set the interagency fee.

For over 25 years we have supported member agencies, advocated on their behalf and provided a forum for networking, practice-sharing and collaboration.

In recent years, we have been at the forefront of national adoption policy.

We sit on the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB), where we advocate for our members and ensure their views are heard.

From 2014-16 we managed the funding for the Expansion Grant programme, which was a significant investment by Government in the excellent services that voluntary adoption agencies provide to vulnerable children and adoptive families. We worked closely with the Department for Education to provide over £10 million across the voluntary sector. Using this investment, our members were particularly successful in placing a greater number of children with special placement needs and in further developing their high-quality adoption services, including concurrency and child-specific recruitment.

From 2016-19 we delivered secretariat and data support to the ASGLB. Our secretariat team worked in partnership with Andrew Christie, Chair of the ASGLB, and the Department for Education to deliver the sector-led quarterly data collection and produce intelligence to support the work of the Board.

From 2016-18 we used a Practice Improvement Fund grant from the Department for Education to develop the practice-sharing model that has evolved into our Practice Development Programme. The Practice Programme has become a key element of our service to CVAA members and subscribers.

We have worked closely with the Department for Education and their delivery partners on the regionalisation programme, which has seen LAs come together to form regional adoption agencies (RAAs). We have kept the voice of the voluntary sector front and centre throughout the process of regionalisation, and have intensified our focus in this area as more RAAs have ‘gone live’ across England.

Over the past year our membership events featured speakers who play key roles in the adoption and permanence landscape. The Rt Hon Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, asked agencies to consider the future of adoption at our Members’ Meeting in November 2018. At our Trustees’ Event in January 2019, Nadhim Zahawi MP, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, spoke of the vital role of the voluntary adoption sector and the Government's commitment to supporting our members in the work they do for children and families.

National Forums