Adoption UK welcomes government’s plans for adoption reform and support

Published: 28.03.16

Adoption UK welcomes the government’s adoption policy paper and believes the vision for adoption is both "ambitious and necessary".
Adoption UK welcomes government’s plans for adoption reform and support

The policy paper, Adoption A vision for change outlines plans for wide-ranging reform for adoption in England, including:

  • Regionalisation of adoption
  • Workforce development
  • Extending the reach of Virtual School Heads to include adopted children
  • Increased Adoption Support Fund allocation
  • Review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 

Adoption UK chief executive, Hugh Thornbery CBE said: “There are different routes to permanence and adoption is transformative for those children for whom it is the right route. We especially welcome the focus on the voice of the adopter and adopted child in this paper.

"We will only get things right if we listen, learn and respond to the knowledge and experience of those most directly involved.  Adopters are the ones who transform lives."

The paper describes plans around the regionalisation of adoption agencies in order to speed up and refine the process of adoption. 

Mr Thornbery said: “The regionalisation of adoption must deliver the positive changes that we all want for adoption. It must not be seen as solely a mechanism to save money. All regional plans must be based on the best understanding of what works and by putting the child’s needs at the centre of the process and, then how to replicate that. We must build on the excellence that currently exists in the independent not-for-profit adoption sector and in some local authorities."

Adoption UK also welcomes the focus on workforce development. In particular we would like to see improvements to how children’s needs are assessed and how this informs the matching and support plans. Many adopted children have multiple and complex needs which we risk not fully understanding.

Research tells us that delay in decision making and multiple placements are harmful to children. Adoption UK welcomes the progress that has been made up to now but too many children are still waiting for too long, particularly those who are deemed harder to place; sibling groups, children with disabilities, older children and those from BME backgrounds. The independent adoption sector has a tremendous track record of finding the right families for these children and their contribution must not be overlooked in future plans.

Adoption UK has worked hard to advise and support the government's thinking and plans for improved adoption support. We are encouraged by the extension of funding for the Adoption Support Fund (ASF), the improvement plans for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the consideration of developing the Virtual School Head (VSH) role to include adopted children but there is a big gap between what is needed and how things are now.

Mr Thornbery continued: “We challenge the government to make faster progress with what needs to be done and to recognise that there is a long way to go to achieving the ambitions in this area. The wider policy developments in the schools system have made it harder to drive the consistent changes for adopted children that we want to see and we are particularly concerned that the move to make all schools academies will make this harder still.”

Mr Thornbery also welcomes the newly appointed Adoption Leadership Board (ALB) Chair, Andrew Christie.  

He added: “Andrew has demonstrated over many years a strong commitment to the adoption sector. He is highly regarded and we look forward to working with him and other members of the ALB and the Minister to secure the vision for an improved adoption system with the voice of adopted children and their parents at its heart.”

For further information - Adoption UK Press Team:  01295 752240 / 07584 669577 / press@adoptionuk.org.uk