The government is expected to publish the long-awaited adoption
bill on Thursday this week (March 15).

New adoption legislation is unlikely to reach the statute book
before the anticipated general election, although if polling day is
put back to later in the year because of the foot and mouth crisis
then it may have a chance of progressing.

Ministers have also made a commitment that new legislation will
be passed this year, and the bill will surely be revived should it
fall before the election.

A white paper, which was well received, was published in
December. It put a strong emphasis on more support for adoptive
parents and their families, and new funds totalling £66.5
million over three years were promised to finance new services.

A target of an increase of 40 per cent in the number of
adoptions of children from care before 2005 was set, and most
campaigners said this was realistic.

* We will have coverage of the detail from the bill as
soon as it is published, with analysis of the implications for
adoption services.



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