Yesterday the Prime Minister appointed David Johnston MP as the new Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, making him the seventh since the last election in 2019. The Minister faces a huge portfolio including children’s social care, SEND, adoption and care leavers, early years, family hubs, disadvantaged and vulnerable children, children and young people’s mental health and more.

This followed a mini reshuffle which saw the outgoing minister, Claire Coutinho MP, become Secretary of State for Energy and Net Zero after less than a year in the role. The sector has expressed frustration and concern that no minister seems to be in post long enough to fully get across their brief and deliver the radical reforms promised in recent years.

Alison Woodhead, Director of Public Affairs and Communications said: “With such a broad portfolio we urge the new Minister to prioritise children’s social care. The stakes are very high and it is vital Mr Johnston is given time to push forward with urgent reform.  As part of this, adoption must remain high on the Minister’s radar – it is the best option for many children who cannot safely grow up with any member of their birth family.”

Prior to entering Parliament, the new minister was Chief Executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, an organisation that seeks to make a ‘practical improvement in social mobility for young people’ by offering them the networks and support they need to access further and higher education.

Since becoming an MP in 2019, Mr Johnston has also had roles as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) at the Department for Education and sat on the Education Select Committee. Education is consistently reported as one of the most important areas impacting the lives of adopted children and young people, Adoption UK’s recent Barometer report highlights that a quarter of adopted 16 to 25-year-olds are not in education, employment or training (NEET), nearly double the UK average; while the Department’s own data shows that care-experienced children, including adopted children, lag significantly behind their peers in educational attainment.

Alison Woodhead continued: “We have written to the Minister to request a meeting, and look forward to working with him and his team to accelerate the changes needed to ensure adopted people receive the support they need, when they need it.”