Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

Lords Adoption Legislation Committee criticises governments emphasis on increasing adoption numbers

Date: (7 March 2013)    |    

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The House of Lords Adoption Legislation Committee in its reports has criticised the over emphasis laid by government in driving up the numbers of adoption rather than considering other routes available for permanence such as special guardianship or kinship care, for children for whom adoption may not be suitable.
Problems of birth parents should not be undermined and needs to be addressed so as to enable families to stay together instead of trying to increase the numbers of adoptions the report stated.
The Committee also raised concerns on the significant lack of information about rates of failure in adoptions.
Chairman of the Committee, Baroness Butler-Sloss, said the most demanding issue right now was post adoption support with children adopted from care usually have experienced abuse or neglect and have range of needs which could not be resolved by just giving them to adoption. The post adoption support was mostly found to be variable and sometimes inadequate.
Support services were critical in ensuring placement stability and achieve a happy result which is the main purpose or adoption. She said the committee recommends a statutory duty on local authorities and other service commissioning bodies to ensure the provision of post-adoption support.
The cost factor should not become an impediment as the cost saved at the care by giving the children to adoption should also be taken into consideration she added.
On the alternative ways to adoptions she said the birth families should not be undermined and parents who had trouble often with drug or alcohol misuse should be addressed early so that the children could be brought up within their birth families.
She urged the government that it should not undermine the potential benefit of preventative programmes. The committee also recommended a pilot scheme offering support to families who have had children removed from their care. their was enough evidence that such problem families still had children without having their problems addressed for which the children were being taken away to care in the first place. It was important that such families were prevented from having more children which could not parent them safely.
The Government must ensure that robust monitoring and data collection is in place, to inform our understanding of what is going wrong, and how such outcomes can be avoided.
The Committee concluded that the Government did seem dedicated to improve the adoption process and that it had already taken several significant steps to put this into practice. And though such steps were welcome more was needed to be done to ensure the best outcomes for all children in care.