Adoptive parents seek more support

Prospective parents will turn their backs on adoption unless they
receive better support, a conference has heard.

Monica Duck, director of the Post-Adoption Centre, said the
Adoption and Children Act 2002, expected to come into force in
December, required adoptive parents to go through an assessment of
need without guaranteeing their needs would be met.

She told the Norfolk Council and University of East Anglia
conference that adoptive parents often complained that, when their
adopted children were given counselling for mental health problems,
they were given no support at all.

“We are going to lose many adoptive parents because they are saying
‘we are not being listened to’,” she said.

Barrister Dr Caroline Ball told the conference the legislation
could face multiple challenges under the Human Rights Act

It allows courts to have children adopted without their parents’
consent if the welfare of the child requires it – a clause which
replaces a list of more specific criteria.

She said the welfare of the child was a subjective test and the
European Court of Human Rights had been reluctant to separate
children permanently from their birth families unless there were
cogent grounds.

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