Adoptions for children in care are falling

number of looked-after children adopted has dropped over the last six months
despite a government commitment to “maximising the contribution adoption can
make to providing permanent families for children”, writes Lauren Revans.

2,890 looked-after children were adopted in the year to the end of September
2001, compared with 3,067 between April 2000 and March 2001.

latest figures, published last week as part of the department of health’s mid
2001-2002 data for seven social services performance indicators, amount to only
a 7 per cent rise on adoption rates since 1999-2000.

is despite a DoH Public Service Agreement with the Treasury to increase the
number of children adopted by 40 per cent by 2004-2005 from 2,700 in 1999-2000.

executive of the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering Felicity Collier
said higher figures in 1999 and 2000 were due partly to an emphasis on extra
placements for a backlog of younger looked-after children during this period.

said local authorities were now left with the more difficult children to place,
including older children and sibling groups.

local authorities had moved the younger children, we all knew it was going to
be much more difficult to sustain progress,” Collier said.

said the new national adoption register due to officially come into force next
week should reveal the profile of those children now waiting to be adopted.

is imperative to find out the characteristics of those not yet placed for
adoption so you can make sure recruitment efforts target the right people,” she

added that the government’s failure to date to amend the Adoption and Children
Bill to allow unmarried couples to adopt jointly would have a detrimental
impact on the DoH’s adoption target. “We are unable to recruit unmarried
couples to adopt – and that represents 15 per cent of households,” she said.

mid-year performance indicators show the number of people aged 65 or over
helped to live at home has remained broadly the same at an average of 84 per
1000 population over 65, while the percentage of adults and older people
receiving a statement of their needs and how they will be met has remained at
an average of 82 per cent.

has been a slight improvement in the level of reviews of child protection cases
in England, with the average number of cases reviewed within six months rising
from 87 per cent in the year to the end of March 2001 to 90 per cent in the
year to the end of September 2001.

a third of England’s local authorities managed to complete all their reviews of
child protection cases on time, Northamptonshire, Birmingham, and
Buckinghamshire, fell well below the national average with mid-year rates of
completed cases of just 46, 55, and 63 per cent respectively.

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