Groups hail launch of go-betweens to ease contact with birth parents

Adoption groups believe new agencies to assist contact between
adopted children and birth parents will end the postcode lottery
many parents now face.

Last week, the government announced plans for registered adoption
support agencies in England to act as intermediaries 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 the new regulations would ensure for the
first time that all those affected by adoption would be able to
access skilled intermediate services.

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

As a result of a late change of heart by ministers, the regulations
will apply to all 875,000 adoptions since 1926. When the Adoption
and Children Act 2002 was introduced as a bill it contained only
provision for possible reunions in adoptions made after the
implementation of the act in September 2005.

But the regulations will not give birth parents or relatives the
right to make direct contact with an adopted adult and no one will
be entitled to information about a child under the age of 18.

Support agencies will have to obtain the “informed consent” of the
adopted adult and can provide support and counselling.

Felicity Collier, chief executive of Baaf Adoption and Fostering,
said: “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.”

The consultation will close at the end of July. From 

A placement in history

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


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