ENGLAND – Councils set out their own plans to speed up adoption

Local authorities propose to work together to match adopters with children

 

Children in care would be found a home with adoptive parents more quickly under new plans to reform the adoption system. This is the message of local authorities who have have sent a joint submission to Government. Councillors, chief executives and directors of children’s services have worked together on proposals which they claim will significantly increase the number of adopters recruited and speed up the process of finding new homes for children in care.

Under the reforms, councils would work more closely together to help match suitable adopters with children in other parts of the country. Targeted support work would focus on speeding up the process of matching children who had spent the longest in care with adoptive parents.

The measures are being put forward as an alternative to Government proposals to remove councils from the process of recruiting adopters altogether.

Councils, charities and voluntary adoption agencies have warned that the current Government plans to overhaul the adoption system risk making it worse for children in care as well as potential adopters.

Local government’s alternative plan for reform has been set out in a joint letter to Children’s Minister Edward Timpson from the Local Government Association (LGA), Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).

Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said:

“There are too many children in care waiting for a loving home, and too few adoptive parents ready to provide a family. This needs to change.

“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 which 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.

“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.

“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 process, with many continuing to offer assistance long after the adoption has taken place. Government’s starting point for recruiting more adopters needs to be working with councils, not removing them from the process altogether.”

The proposals can be viewed here – but unfortunately only by members of the LGA.

 

SOURCE: Family Law Week

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