Experts back Welsh adoption agency plan

Adoption experts have backed plans for a national adoption agency in Wales, outlined today by the Welsh government.

Adoption experts have backed plans for a national adoption agency in Wales, outlined today by the Welsh government.

Announcing its 10-year-strategy for social services reform, the Welsh government said some services were more effective when delivered nationally. “We intend to explore with stakeholders the remit and functions of a national adoption agency.”

Jonathan Pearce, chief executive of Adoption UK, called the plans an “exciting opportunity” to improve the number of successful adoptions and reduce breakdowns.

“A national adoption agency would offer the chance to streamline and improve approaches to placing children, recruiting parents and supporting families. This would not only affect the many inter-agency placements that happen with the adoption of children, but could also transform the way social services, education and health departments work with each other.

He said effective joint working on the social care, educational and mental health needs of adopted children is “crucial” to the long-term success of adoptions. “Done well, this would play a major role in reducing the level of disruptions within adoptive placements,” he said.

Ann Bell, Adoption UK’s development manager (Wales), added: “Currently there are about 200 adoptive placements from care in Wales each year, handled by 24 separate agencies – 22 of which are local authority agencies and two voluntary adoption agencies.

“Concentrating work on those adoptions in a single organisation could ensure the proper prioritisation of the long-term welfare of children who have experienced significant early abuse and neglect.

“This could make a major impact on supporting their adoptive families to help the children overcome the emotional, behavioural and developmental difficulties that are the direct consequence of early trauma at a key developmental stage in their lives. It’s an exciting time for adoption.”

David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, said: “We note the commitment to consult with stakeholders. We look forward to playing a major role in that consultation.”

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