A new study on adoption has called for local authorities to give
greater consideration to placing children with other members of
their extended family rather than with non-relatives,
writes Derren Hayes.
‘The Plan for the Child’ report by Nigel Lowe and Mervyn Murch
of Cardiff Law School says the recent political emphasis on
adoption over other forms of care plans may have resulted in social
workers not considering the option of placements with other
It also found that policies on the legal status of
kinship-carers among the six local authorities in the study were
vague, affecting the level of social services and financial support
they received. In some authorities family members were
automatically assessed as foster carers for the child, qualifying
them for a foster carer’s allowance, while in other areas
they were encouraged to apply for a residence order.
The foster carer’s allowance is generally greater than
that received by those granted a residence order, and once a
residence order is granted, parental responsibility shifts to the
carer and social services are no longer required to offer financial
‘These factors tended to make a residence order an
unattractive option for relatives,’ the report says.
‘The Plan for the Child, adoption or long term
fostering’ costs £9.95 from Baaf adoption and fostering.
020 7593 2000.