Adoption UK's Policy and Campaign Priorities
At Adoption UK, we strive to improve the outcomes of adoptive families and those children who are unable to live with their birth parents. To achieve this end, we advocate for change on behalf of adoptive families to ensure they have access to the support they need.
By harnessing the knowledge and experience of our 8,000 members and the wider adoption community, we are able to provide informed advice to policymakers. We support research, publish case studies and contribute to empirical evidence surrounding adoption in the 21st century. We engage with key stakeholders through formal consultation as well as through our campaigning and lobbying efforts.
Adoption UK is keen to engage with politicians from all parties and from all parts of the UK. 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.
Our current campaign priorities are:
Right to support
We are calling on policymakers 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.
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.
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.
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.