Adoption changes announced
24th December 2012 -- Potential adopters will in future be given a more active role in selecting a child, the government has announced.
People who adopt will also get the same maternity and paternity paid leave arrangements as biological mums and dads, and time off work to meet children on the adoption register.
The plans for England also include more 'activity days' pioneered by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering where prospective parents can 'connect' with a child on the adoption register.
Reasons for change
Ministers had already said speeding up the adoption process was a priority, making the system quicker but at the same time more effective and robust.
The number of children available for adoption has risen from 3,000 in 2010 to more than 4,000 in 2012.
The new measures announced are designed to encourage more potential adoptive parents to come forward.
Other new measures
Other measures announced include:
- Personal budgets will be trialled, where adoptive parents can choose the type and provider of adoption support that would otherwise be allocated by local councils.
- Free early education for two year-olds will be extended to adopted children from 2014. They will also be given priority school access from 2013.
- A new adoption helpline will be launched with calls answered by experienced adopters.
- A one-stop-shop National Gateway for Adoption is proposed for the first stages of the adoption process.
In a statement, children and families minister, Edward Timpson says: "We are doing all we can to make sure children in care with a plan for adoption are able to have a loving and stable adoptive family as soon as possible. We know that children do well in an adoptive family and I hope this comprehensive package of support will lead to more and more people having the confidence to come forward and provide a chance for these children to thrive and reach their potential.
"This support will also provide more help to those who are already adopting children who have been in care. I urge everyone this Christmas to think seriously about opening up their home to a child awaiting adoption."
The government’s adoption adviser Martin Narey says: "There is US and now UK evidence that effective matches can be achieved by allowing adopters to take the initiative.
"Of course, that does not mean that adopters can simply choose their child, they still need professional advice on such a vital decision. But it is clear - and indeed I have observed - that there is a chemistry between adopters and children which can provide a foundation for a very successful adoption."
In a statement, David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering welcomed the announcement and says: "Adoption support is so important in ensuring that adoptions are given the very best chance of succeeding.
"We also welcome the support for our Adoption Activity Days pilots which have resulted in a number of children being linked with their new forever families. Now, more than ever, we need more people to consider if adoption could be right for them - we must find families for the thousands of children who are waiting whilst ensuring that adoption support is available to meet the needs of all."