Have your say

Have your say on the issue of practice placements once
the new social work degree has been introduced There is a shortage
of practice teachers, and there will be increased demand once the
new degree is in place.

How will the extra demand be met? Have your say by
e-mailing us by
clicking here


Last week’s Have your say discussion looked at the issue
of adoption targets set by the government.

We received the following responses:

Natural Parents Network is a small registered
charity. We are a self-help group giving advice and support to
birth families and their relatives.

NPN has always expressed concern on the subject of adoption
targets, and Anna Gupta`s article (featured in Community
magazine on April 25 –
click here
to read it) has focused on some of these issues. We
acknowledge that children must have the right to grow up in a safe,
loving and secure environment. For some, their circumstances mean
this will not be within their birth family. NPN works with people
who live with the lifelong implications of having been separated
from their birth relatives by the process of adoption; their
experiences bear witness to the long-term harm which can result
from losing contact with their children, parents, siblings,
grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles etc.

Adoption can be the answer for many children who currently need
a safe, permanent placement in which to grow up. The needs of
others may be better met by long-term foster care, or the new
special guardianship order, which is yet to be implemented.
Whichever option will best meet the needs of the individual child,
can only be decided after fully assessing the child/family
situation. Consideration must be given to the child`s wishes and
feelings, especially concerning relationships they may have with
relatives and others who have played a significant role in their
lives. This has a cost, both emotional and financial, to all
involved. The government should not underestimate the long-term,
life changing effects these decisions can have for the individuals.
There must not be short cuts or lack of resources which might
prevent any case from undergoing the widest assessment prior to
whichever avenue is deemed to best meet the current and future
needs of the individual child. This has to be carefully balanced
against the possible harmful effects that delay in achieving a
permanent placement can mean for a child. These high priorities
must be met for every child, without compromising standards in the
rush to meet government levied statistics.

The provision of an extensive assessment of a child`s needs;
effective and realistic support packages has to be the right, and
available immediately to families who are `parenting` children who
have been /are in the care of the local authority. It is
unacceptable that adoptive parents frequently cannot access
workable support packages, post placement, to meet the very
demanding needs of the children they have adopted into their

Contact also is a sensitive area, needing careful assessment and
investigation into issues, before an adoption order is made. The
situation of siblings often appears to be considered
inconsequential, being viewed as risky or undesirable. Siblings
separated and denied access to each other can suffer deep feelings
of loss, compounding further the effects of losing their birth
parents. NPN knows through the testimonies of some members and
their families, the long term suffering which the deprivation of
sibling contact can bring to an individual, in childhood and as an
adult. Both

prospective and adoptive parents need maximum input to help them
to contend confidently with contact, in whatever form this may
take. They can then more readily recognise for themselves the
positive emotional value this will usually give to the future of
the child they adopt. Resources for post adoption services for all
affected by adoption issues, must be generous, consistent and
readily available, and not deprioritised in the local authorities`
quest to meet adoption quotas. Similar support services are as
necessary to extended family carers and others, who give permanent
long term care to very vulnerable children. The government`s
aspirations to greatly increase the numbers of adoptions must not
be allowed to take precedence over the provision of a wide range of
high quality support services, with the necessary resources for
their implementation.

Sue Jackson

Chairperson NPN

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