Scottish adoption system to be overhauled

Scotland’s adoption system is set to be overhauled in a
bid to stem the decline in the number of children adopted, the
Scottish executive has announced, writes Derren

The proposals aim to broaden the pool of potential adopters by
allowing same sex and unmarried couples to adopt, simplify the
legal process to reduce the amount of time adoptions take to go
through the courts and offer more post-adoption support to children
and families.

Plans for a new permanence order, which will give long-term
stability to children who cannot live with their birth families but
for whom adoption is not the best option, were also unveiled.

Deputy education minister Euan Robson said the system needed to
change because the number of adoptions in Scotland had dropped from
1,000 to 400 a year since the mid-1980s.

The proposals came out of a three-year review by a group of
adoption and legal experts. One of its members, Baaf Adoption and
Fostering’s Scottish director Barbara Hudson, said the
complicated interface between the courts, children’s hearing
system and the council planning process meant it took up to two
years to complete adoptions.

“I would hope that we can reduce that to something between
six and nine months because it is better for the child,” she

However, allowing same sex and unmarried couples to adopt
– currently, only one half of the couple can apply –
promises to be the most controversial aspect of the plans. When
similar changes were introduced in England in 2003, they caused
protests from religious and pro-marriage groups.

Hudson said the move would increase the number of people that
apply to adopt, but hoped it wouldn’t dominate debate on the

“Sadly there are some sectors of society that may feel the
change in legislation is a threat to marriage as an institution,
but for those most closely involved in the sector it won’t be
seen as the most important aspect,” she added.

The executive is to publish a consultation paper on the
proposals shortly.

Proposals from


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