calls to prioritise adoption

Calls For Adoption To Be Prioritised And Policies Reviewed

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has urged councils to prioritise finding vulnerable young people a stable, loving home.

Calling on council to not ‘shy away from putting children forward for adoption’, Williamson has asked them to review their practices following the drop in numbers of assessments that would recommend a vulnerable child be adopted.

As well as Williamson calling for adoption to be prioritised, a letter has been sent to all Directors of Children’s Services by the Children and Families Minister, Michelle Donelan. In the letter Donelan raises the issue that potential adopters are being ‘put off’ the application process due to circumstances that should not affect their eligibility, such as being too old, income, sexual orientation and marital status.

“I attach a communication sheet “Who can Adopt – The Facts” which you can use in your adopter recruitment websites and materials. This covers areas that are consistently cited as reasons why adopters are wrongly turned away.”

“…adoption remains an important permanence option and can be transformative for many children providing them with stability and care which lasts long beyond childhood.”

Instead, adopters should be assessed on their ability to “provide a stable, loving home and whether they would provide the best environment for a young person to grow up and flourish in.”

Citing the recent case of a couple who won a discrimination case for being told ‘not to bother applying’ due to their Indian heritage, Donelan also raised the issue that children are from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds should not just be matched to BAME adopters.

With 24% of children awaiting adoption being of BAME background, councils should “not prioritise trying to find the ‘perfect’ ethnic match.”

It was announced in October 2019 that the Department of Education had given £645,000 funding to help find adopters for ‘hard to place’ children, which included BAME children.

In the latest figures released, there has been a continuous drop in the number of adoptions year on year. In 2019, there were 5,360 adoptions, however the number reduced to 2,570 in 2019, with a 7% drop from 2018.

Speaking to The Guardian, Sue Armstrong Brown from Adoption UK stated:

“There is no right number of adoptions. However, the decline in recent years, despite the number of children coming into care increasing, has been a cause for concern for all.

“We urgently need to see improvements in the way adopters are recruited, trained and supported to ensure these vulnerable children find the loving, stable homes they deserve.”

The government is making it clear that they are committed to getting more children out of the care system and into permanent homes.

As well as the funding announced in October 2019, there has also been an increased funding for the Adoption Support Fund.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Adoption can transform the lives of children waiting in care for a permanent, loving home. I applaud the hard work and commitment of the social workers who dedicate themselves to giving children the kind of home environment that many of us take for granted and urge them not to shy away from putting children forward for adoption.

“As long as adoptive parents can offer love, care and the stable home every child in care deserves, I want them to be considered. This government will continue building on the increased support we are giving new adoptive families by making it clear to every council that if they think it is in the best interest of the child, I will back them 100 per cent in recommending adoption.”

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