There is no doubt that the adoption register could achieve more.
But before Baaf Adoption and Fostering takes it over, it is worth
re-examining what, realistically, we should ask of it. The register
is burdened with expectations born of the simplistic analysis of
adoption at the very top of government which preceded its launch in
2001, which largely ignored the context of children’s services as a
Many professionals always believed there are not hundreds of
potential adopters waiting for those children local authorities
have failed to place. Even at Number 10, they must now know
But the register should dramatically increase our understanding
both of these children and of the most specialist adopters, and how
this small but important group fares around the country.
Expectations must change, rejecting the legacy of over-hasty
decisions, and instead using the register as an important tool to
inform future policy. What role have children’s services themselves
played in rendering these young people unadoptable? What kind of
support do families need in order to accept these children? And how
can we best care for children who will never be adopted?
Then ministers will realise that stability, rather than adoption,
should be the goal for all children.