Guidance revised to help social workers place children more quickly for adoption

The Department for Education has published its latest raft of adoption reforms. open for consultation from today

Children's minister Edward Timpson
Children's minister Edward Timpson. Photo: Steve Back/Rex Features

Councils will be legally required to consider fostering for adoption wherever appropriate and tell prospective adopters about their entitlement to adoption support under new regulations.

The draft regulations, published for consultation today alongside guidance, mark the next step towards implementation of the government’s comprehensive adoption.

They will require councils to consider fostering for adoption, wherever appropriate, and ensure the ethnicity of a child and a prospective family is not prioritised over other factions during the adoption matching process.

Councils will also be legally obliged to tell prospective adopters about their entitlement to adoption support, while adopters will be able to play a more active role in identifying children they may want to adopt when restrictions are removed on the adoption register.

Announcing the consultation, children’s minister Edward Timpson said the reforms will ensure children are given stable homes more quickly and make it easier for social workers to follow the new processes when considering adoption for children.

“It means they can make the best possible decisions in the interests of the 6,000 children waiting for a loving home,” he said.

The revised statutory guidance has been refocused to help social workers place children with adoptive parents more quickly, engage adopters in the process much sooner and provide support to properly meet the needs of adopted children and their new families.

Nushra Mansuri, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said: “It is so important that social workers are given the credit they are due for the effort they put in to adoption work that has resulted in improvements in adoption rates.

“Nevertheless, when we consider adoption reform, we also need to remind ourselves of some of the key messages from the Munro review about the distinction between good practice and the pressure to rigidly adhere to processes and procedures.

“A good adoption service is about getting things right for children and this sometimes may mean taking a little more time to ensure that practice is thorough and robust. The government also has to ensure there is enough capacity in the system to meet the additional demands being made of it.”

The draft regulations follow a number of reforms implemented last year, including a two-stage approval process so the majority of adopters are approved to adopt within six months and a legal duty on all adoption agencies to refer prospective adopters to the Adoption Register within three months of approval.

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One Response to Guidance revised to help social workers place children more quickly for adoption

  1. sunny monday March 10, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    There seems to be a gulf between policy and practice on adoption here and in all other European countries. Why is the UK the odd one out? If the UK are acting in the best interests of children at all times, why is nobody else in Europe doing the same thing? Are children in Europe suffering more because their countries do not do as we do?

    I suspect the answer is that children are not worse off in France, Ireland or Germany, etc. It concerns me greatly that the UK is actually increasing the pressure for adoptions to be made. The checks and balences are not working effectively now and speeding up things will only make this worse.

    There seems to be an increasing number of programmes and articles in the media, apparently the adoption of babies and toddlers is now at a 35 year high, and yet deaths of children from abuse has not dropped.

    Something has gone very very wrong with our system.