Councils should be allowed to work together to improve the adoption system rather than being removed from it, local authority leaders have claimed.
The government wants to speed up the adoption process. Image: Alex Deverill
The Local Government Association (LGA), the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace) argue that the adoption process could be accelerated by councils working more closely together to match adopters with children in other parts of the country.
Under the proposal, authorities would use targeted support work to match children who had spent the longest time in care with adoptive parents.
The call is part of a range of measures put forward by the three organisations as an alternative to the government’s plan to outsource recuitment of adopters.
David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “We know that adoptive mums and dads value the support and relationship they have with their local authority, and it is a fact that councils have twice the success rate of independent adoption agencies.
“However, there are things we could do better. We have set out an honest appraisal of what we can do better, and how we will ensure those improvements happen quickly.”
By 31 March 2014, the organisations want to more than halve the national shortage of adopters, which the Department for Education estimates could be up to 3,000 adopters.
“The government needs to play its part by finally delivering on its pledge to reduce the heavy legal burden of care proceedings and ridiculous bureaucracy which causes huge delays that can put some people off adopting altogether,” Simmonds said.
“Removing councils from the process of recruiting adopters would be a reckless gamble that risks making things worse for adoptive parents and children in care.
“Parents tell us they value the consistent support that a council social worker offers throughout the process, with many continuing to offer assistance long after the adoption has taken place.”
He added: “The government’s starting point for recruiting more adopters needs to be working with councils, not removing them from the process altogether.”
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SOURCE: Children & Young People Now