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Adoption UK's Policy and Campaign Priorities

At Adoption UK we strive to improve the outcomes of vulnerable children who have been in care, and to do this, we advocate on behalf of adoptive families to ensure they have access to the support they need. By utilising the knowledge and experience of our 8,000-plus members and the wider adoption community we are able to provide informative advice to policy-makers. We support research, publish case studies and contribute to empirical evidence surrounding adoption in the 21st century.

We are proud of our UK-wide reach, and have offices and staff in all four nations, engaging with the devolved governments and advocating on behalf of adoptive families, wherever they live.  For more information, visit our nations pages.

Adoption UK is keen to engage with politicians from all parties and from all parts of the UK. Our policy priorities are:

Right to support

We are calling on policy makers across the UK to change the law to give all adoptive families the right to appropriate adoption support when they need it. 

Most adopted children have experienced abuse and/or neglect in their early lives and many require ongoing support to build bright futures. Our latest research tells us that 81 per cent of adoptive parents said their families’ support needs were identified, yet only 56 per cent were given the support they required. Across the UK, the level of support for families differs. In England, the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) introduced in 2015 went some way to providing support but the demand is greater than the fund can cater for, and so more needs to be done to bridge the disparity between identifying and meeting the needs of adoptive families.

Education

We are calling on policy-makers across the UK to give every adopted child the right to additional support in school, whenever they need it in their education journey.

80 per cent of adoptive parents tell us their child needs more support in school than their peers due to their early life experiences. Adopted children who have come from a background of abuse and neglect will find it hard to form the early stable attachments so important for a child’s wellbeing.  This has a devastating impact on attainment levels, and research shows that only 49 per cent of adopted children reached their expected levels at Key Stage 2, whilst 75 per cent of their peers achieved expected levels.

Our UK-wide Schools Campaign aims to ensure that teachers are able to recognise when a child is suffering from attachment disorder, and arms them with practical strategies, and access to training and support.

Mental health 

We are calling on policy-makers across the UK to ensure adopted children are a priority group in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The services they receive must be appropriate to their needs and delivered by adoption-aware professionals.

Research shows that at least 50 per cent of adopted children have a diagnosable mental health need. Adopted children’s mental health needs often develop as a result of trauma, neglect or abuse experienced in early life. These vulnerable children must be made a priority group in CAMHS, due to their high likelihood of requiring access.

Equality

We are calling for an end to the discrimination that adoptive families face.

There is inequality between the rights of those parenting adopted children and those parenting birth children. For example, self-employed adopters are not entitled to the same financial support as self-employed birth mothers via Maternity Allowance. Equality of entitlement must exist between those parenting birth children and those parenting adopted children.

Recent campaigning record and policy stances:

4 April 2017 - Government announces that adopted children will receive extra support in school as a result of the Children and Social Work Act - Adoption UK's successful lobbying leads to the inclusion of significant provisions for adopted children

26 January 2017 - Changes to the ASF's Fair Access Limit - the existing Fair Access Limit is to continue into 2017/18 with the addition of a sum offered to children requiring specialist assessment

21 December 2016 - Half of CCGs use funds allocated for troubled young people elsewhere - Adoption UK "hugely disappointed" that funding is not reaching the NHS frontline

31 October 2016 - Adoption UK launches its Schools Campaign - we have have joined forces with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) in a bid to make every school attachment-aware

11 October 2016 - Government announces adopted children will be exempt from tax credit changes - extension of provision that previously only applied to adopted sibling groups

6 October 2016 - Fair Access Limit introduced for the ASF - Adoption UK members stress the importance of the fund

22 August 2016 - Court of Appeal redresses the balance regarding adoption placement orders - Adoption UK welcomes the Court's judgement

1 October 2013 - The Government announces that the Pupil Premium initiative is to be extended to include adopted children - Adoption UK's response to Pupil Premium funding extension to adopted children

11 September 2013 - The Government announces a £19.3 million fund for adoption support - Adoption UK's response to National Adoption Support Fund

15- 31 May 2013 - Adoption UK conducts survey for Department for Education on adopters' experiences of accessing adoption support. Download our findings here. 

24 December 2012 - Our statement on the Government's announcement on support packages - Adoption UK welcomes adoption support packages but fears lack of resources may slow progress

6 December 2012 - Our response to the Government's consultation on adoption and fostering proposals - Adoption and Fostering: tackling delay - Adoption UK consultation response form

13 November 2012 - We are thrilled to welcome Government plans to give adopters equal rights in maternity pay and leave - Adoption UK thrilled at Government plans to give adopters equal rights

October 2012 - The Care Inquiry - On 1 October eight leading charities, including Adoption UK, have joined forces to launch an inquiry into how best to provide stable and permanent homes for children in England who cannot live with their birth families. Download all of The Care Inquiries reports.

Government announces plans to overhaul adoption assessment process

14 March 2012 - the Government published an Action Plan on Adoption that aims to overhaul the adoption system in England for children and prospective adopters, including plans to reform the recruitment, training and assessment process.

The Action Plan will also introduce performance measures for local authorities, a new national gateway for adoption that will provide a first point of contact for anyone interested in adoption and an "in principle" backing of the need to improve the system of adoption support.

In producing the Action Plan on Adoption, the Government was assisted by an Expert Working Group that included Jonathan Pearce, our then Chief Executive.