The British Association for Adoption and Fostering defines adoption as follows:
“Adoption is a way of providing a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents. It’s a legal procedure in which all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters. Once an adoption order has been granted it can’t be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances. An adopted child loses all legal ties with their first mother and father (the “birth parents”) and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family’s name.”
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• Adoption has a higher profile within councils following the prime minister’s adoption review in 2000, according to the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
• CSCI says numbers of looked-after children in England being adopted rose 38 per cent between 2000 and 2005 and that a more diverse range of those seeking children for adoption are now being recruited.
• The quality of adoption practice is “still very variable across and within local councils,” says CSCI in its 2006 review of the sector. The study found that adoption agencies placed 3,100 children for adoption in England in 2005 and their average age was four. CSCI noted that there are 150 local council and 33 voluntary adoption agencies in England
• Adoption law for domestic adoption and intercountry adoption was modernised in the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (fully implemented December 2005). Special guardianship, introduced in the 2002 act, aims to provide permanence for children if adoption is not appropriate.
• In Scotland, the executive’s own figures show that over the last 20 years, adoptions fell from around 1,000 a year to less than 400.
BAAf defines fostering as follows:
“Fostering is a way of providing a family life for children who cannot live with their own parents. It is often used to provide temporary care while parents get help sorting out problems, take a break, or to help children or young people through a difficult period in their lives.
Often children will return home once the problems that caused them to come into foster care have been resolved and that it is clear that their parents are able to look after them safely.
Others may stay in long-term foster care, some may be adopted, and others will move on to live independently.”
• Two out of three children who come into care in the UK are fostered, according to the Fostering Network charity. It says 50,000 children are currently in foster care, and that 10,000 more carers interested in fostering a child are needed.
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