19 Dec 2012
A child’s ethnic background is still an important factor when being matched with prospective adoptive parents according to a House of Lords committee report on adoption legislation.
The committee endorsed the importance of considering ethnicity when matching a child, rejecting proposals to remove this requirement.
“We share the Government's belief that children should not experience undue delay whilst a search for a perfect or near perfect ethnic match takes place. We do not, however, believe that considerations of race, religion, culture and language should be neglected altogether, as they are all components of a child's identity.”
“We have heard evidence that delay is sometimes caused by the search for a perfect ethnic match, although it is unclear how widespread the problem is. Overall, the evidence we have received does not suggest that this is such a significant problem that legislative change is necessary.”
The committee recommended that factors including a child’s religion, race, culture and language should be given equal prominence to other characteristics relevant to the child and that removing any mention of these aspects increases the risk of them being neglected in matching decisions.
The Committee’s report also supported the Government’s aim to minimise disruption by reducing the number of placements experienced by children in care:
“We agree with the Government that where possible children should be placed at the earliest opportunity with the carers who will become their permanent carers. Concurrent planning already delivers these benefits to a small number of children and we would support the wider application of the principles behind concurrent planning in suitable cases.”
The committee also recommended a review of statutory guidance to ensure permanency planning is seriously considered one month after a child enters care.