A new study on adoption has called for local authorities to give
greater consideration to placing children with other members of
their family rather than having them adopted by non-relatives.
Plan for the Child report, by Nigel Lowe and Mervyn Murch of
Cardiff Law School, says that continuing emphasis on adoption may
be at the expense of considering placements with other
It also found that policies on the legal status of family carers
among six local authorities examined in the study were vague, which
affected the level of social services and financial support they
received. In some authorities family members were automatically
assessed as foster carers for the child, qualifying them for a
foster carer’s allowance, while in other areas they were encouraged
to apply for a residence order.
The foster carer’s allowance is generally greater than that
received by those granted a residence order. Once a residence order
is granted, parental responsibility, including financial support,
shifts to the carer from social services.
“These factors tended to make a residence order an unattractive
option for relatives,” the report says.
Bob Broad, director of the children and families research unit
at De Montfort University, Leicester, believes some local
authorities aren’t prepared or can’t afford to give them proper
“We recommend that kinship-carers should receive either a carers
grant, carers allowance or carers tax break from the Department for
Work and Pensions,” he said.
Plan for the Child, from BAAF Adopton &Fostering 020 7593