New adoption contact measures ‘set to end postcode lottery’

Adoption groups believe new agencies to facilitate contact
between adopted children and birth parents will end the current
postcode lottery many parents face when trying to access such
services, writes Natasha Salari.

The government announced plans to introduce registered adoption
support agencies in England to act as an intermediary service for
adult birth relatives wishing to find their adopted children.

Charity Norcap, which has lobbied the government on the issue
for more than two years, said new regulations would ensure for the
first time all those affected by adoption would be able to access
skilled intermediate services.

There are no requirements for adoption agencies to provide
contact services currently, and there is no regulation or
registration of those that do.

The regulations will apply to all 875,000 adoptions that have
taken place since 1926. When the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was
first introduced as a bill it only contained provision for possible
reunions in adoptions made after the implementation of the act in
September 2005.

However, the regulations will not give birth parents or
relatives the right to make direct contact with an adopted adult,
and no-one will be able to get information about a child under the
age of 18. Support agencies will have to get the “informed
consent” of the adopted adult, and can provide support and

Felicity Collier, chief executive of Baaf Adoption and
Fostering, added: “Thousands of birth parents have waited for
many years to explain to the children they gave up for adoption why
they made this decision, and to gain reassurance that their
children are alive and well.”

Facts and figures:

– There have been around 875,000 adoptions since 1926.
– The number of adoptions peaked in 1968 when around 25,000
children were adopted.
– Last year 3,500 children were adopted from care.
– It is estimated that over 2 million people may be interested in
applying to an adoption support agency or may be the subject of an
– The number of initial applications is likely to be high so the
scheme may be phased in over two phases.

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