Adoption standards and register launched

The National Adoption Register and final National Adoption
Standards for England were launched last week, promising what
health minister Jacqui Smith described as a transformation of the
adoption process.

The Adoption Register, which will be run by voluntary adoption
agency Norwood Ravenswood, will link suitable adoptive families
with children waiting to be adopted across England and Wales, and
is a key part of the government’s reform of the adoption

Under the standards, produced in conjunction with British
Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, councils and agencies will
have a duty to produce a “plan for permanence” at the four-month
statutory review of looked-after children. Clear timescales for
achieving the plan will be set and, where adoption has been
identified, the adoption panel will make its recommendation within
two months.

A new public service agreement target focusing on timescales
will be announced later this year.

The government wants to increase the rate of adoptions by 40 per
cent but also wants children’s views to be heard and responded to,
as well as ensuring consistent post-adoption support. Smith
announced plans for “two waves” of pilot councils and agencies to
help develop the register’s operation.

The launch also saw the publication for consultation of draft
practice guidance for the implementation of the standards, plus
draft national adoption standards for adopted adults and their
birth siblings, which had been absent from the original

BAAF chief executive Felicity Collier welcomed the register, but
regretted “an absence of significant new funding”. The government
announced funding last year of £66.5 million over three years
– but mainly through the Quality Protects grant.

National Adoption Standards

– The needs and wishes, welfare and safety of the looked-after
child are at the centre of the adoption process.

– Prospective adopters will be welcomed, and treated, without
prejudice, responded to promptly and given clear information.

– Children will be matched with approved adopters who can offer
them a stable and permanent home and receive post-adoptive help and

– Birth parents and birth families will be treated fairly,
openly and with respect throughout the adoption process.

– Councils will provide a comprehensive adoption service,
planned corporately and in collaboration with other agencies.

– Each council and adoption agency will provide a high quality
adoption service.

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