Areas of Focus for Adoption Changes
29 June 2015 by Rachel Earnshaw
The director of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, John Simmonds, has made clear what he feels should be the main areas of focus when considering making changes to our adoption system. This came following the Queen’s Speech in the opening of Parliament, which announced legislation that would promote the creation of closer working relationships between local authorities in establishing regional adoption agencies.
In 2014 over 1,400 children with a plan for adoption had their plans changed because the local authority were unable to find suitable families for them. A further 1, 500 children waited over 18 months before being placed with an adoptive family.
Mr Simmonds points out that It is deeply troubling that many children experience such delays in being placed or, for some, that these plans are changed because a family cannot be found for them. He says that for a child to have a plan for adoption usually means they have been removed from their birth parents because of abuse and/or neglect. They have experienced quite the opposite of what children need: a secure loving family committed to them for life.
The children experiencing the delays and uncertainty of changing plans are typically older children with complex health needs, disabled children, children from minority ethnic backgrounds and sibling groups.
Mr Simmonds has stated that the announcement is a significant development but the re-organisation of current adoption services must be driven by the highest quality of professional leadership and practice. The four key areas John feels should be focussed on are:
Building on the current successful arrangements in adoption consortia where local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies cooperate together in pooling their joint resources;
Identifying the core elements of best practice in matching children with adopters and supporting the development, resourcing and implementation of these. These include the video profiling of children, the use of the adoption register and adoption activity days;
Ensuring that support is available to adoptive families that understands the vulnerability of many of the children and challenges for adopters in caring for them; and
Evaluating current organisational change programmes for their impact on child centred outcomes – especially recent developments in Wales where a national adoption service has already been established.
For more information about the adoption process, please click here.