The government have launched an online portal that will act as a national “gateway” for prospective adopters.
First4Adoption aims to encourage more people to adopt
The First4Adoption website brings together information about the adoption process in a single place.
The Department for Education hopes the site will help England’s estimated four million potential adopters understand the adoption process.
Children’s minister Edward Timpson said the site would also dispel myths that put off prospective adopters and complement the existing adoption information line 0300 222 0022.
“Every child deserves a loving home, but too many children are waiting too long,” he said.
“I want no prospective parent to be in any doubt that the government, and the whole system, are on their side.
“For too long families have been deterred by baffling, over wieldy and unduly slow processes, or by myths around the types of families sought.”
To coincide with the launch of First4Adoption, the DfE published research showing that up to four million people in England are “fairly likely”, “very likely” or “certain to” consider adopting in the future.
First4Adoption is being run by the children’s charity Coram, Adoption UK and the Coram Children’s Legal Centre.
Shuna Kennedy, director of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, welcomed the launch of the site.
“With such a desperate need for more adopters, First4Adoption can only be considered a very positive initiative,” she said.
“To have a resource where those thinking about adoption can quickly and easily get professional help and information about the adoption process, and where and how to apply, will surely encourage more people to take that very important first step towards giving a child or children a safe, permanent and loving home through adoption.”
But the children’s charity Barnardo’s warned that First4Adoption’s goal of recruiting more adopters would be undermined by other government reforms of the adoption system.
“It is bewildering to see the government working hard to improve the adoption system while putting contradictory plans into place,” said Janet Grauberg, director of strategy at the children’s charity.
“The government’s own evidence highlights the urgent need to simplify the adoption process, yet it is proposing to introduce a new level of complexity into proceedings.
“First4Adoption aims to eliminate barriers that have put off potential parents for too long, but the government threats to stop councils from recruiting adopters will do quite the opposite.”
She added: “To increase numbers of adoptive parents, all recruitment streams must be kept open and recent reforms allowed time to take effect.”
The DfE also released its latest set of adoption maps today. They show how many children are up for adoption and the supply of adopters in each English local authority area.
The maps are based on local authority figures and do not include data from voluntary adoption agencies.
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now