The Children and Families Act - what it means for adopters
Published: 18.03.14The Children and Families Act has now been given royal assent meaning it becomes law and the changes proposed to give greater support to vulnerable children will come into force.
The legislation includes a raft of implementations that will affect adoptive families:
- In a bid to see more children being adopted with less delay, 'fostering for adoption' will be promoted more widely so that children are placed sooner within families likely to adopt them and less emphasis will be given to the need to ensure a perfect or partial ethnic match between child and adopter.
- All adoption agencies will be required to inform prospective adopters about support services available.
- Looked after children will benefit from a 26-week time limit for completing care and supervision proceedings and children in care will be given the choice to stay with their foster families until they turn 21.
- In the workplace adopters will also benefit with shared parental leave around placement being available to all adopters from April 2015. This gives parents more choice over taking leave in the first year – either parent can take up to a year or parents can take several months at the same time.
- Prospective adopters will also be allowed time off to attend introductory appointments.
Hugh Thornbery, Chief Executive of Adoption UK said:
"Adoption UK welcomes the passing of this landmark Act with the important changes it brings to improve the adoption system. We are pleased to have played an important part in influencing the legislation. The Act has the potential to improve the experience of children and adopters greatly and will ultimately result in more children being placed in loving homes sooner and with better outcomes. We are determined to ensure that the stipulations of the Act are implemented effectively and in a timely manner, and through my role on the Adoption Leadership Board I will make certain that the new laws are translated into making a real difference for adoptive families now and in the future."