New government proposals will give prospective adopters more
information about children they plan to adopt and allow them to
challenge decisions on whether they are suitable parents,
writes Derren Hayes.
Draft adoption agency regulations and suitability of adopters
regulations outline plans to put the needs of children and adopters
at the heart of the adoption system, with a greater emphasis given
to the amount of support adoption agencies can give.
The regulations will require adoption agencies to provide
prospective adopters with detailed information on a child’s
circumstances, including their life before adoption, medical
information and legal reports. Adopters are also to be provided
with better and more consistent preparation, support and
Publication of the new regulations follows last year’s
high profile court ruling that Essex Council should compensate a
couple for failing to provide them with adequate information about
a boy with behavioural problems they were planning to adopt. The
case has now gone to appeal.
Under the regulations, children will also be asked their views
on the proposed care plans and their wishes will be taken into
account, giving them a bigger say in the process than they
Meanwhile, the Adoption Register has warned that an audit of
adopters and children from nearly all 200 local authority and
voluntary adoption agencies has revealed a severe shortage of
adopters equipped to help children with emotional or educational
difficulties, attachment problems and other special needs.
Consultation on both documents ends on 1 May 2004. The
draft regulations are available