Councils blame Government bureaucracy for slow adoption process
Published: 17.01.13Local Authorities say their attempts to speed up the adoption process are being hampered by Government delays in scrapping "ridiculous" bureaucracy.
A statement released by the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the legal burden of care proceedings and paperwork social workers have to contend with is not only delaying the adoption process but can also put prospective adopters off.
While the national adoption gateway, which is planned to be launched in spring, will provide a first point of contact for anyone interested in adoption and encourage adopters to come forward, local Government leaders feel it is taking too long to implement.
David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:
"The biggest barrier to finding homes for children is that sadly there is still an acute shortage of potential adopters. Councils have already waited a year for Government to launch its national adoption gateway, which is the principal vehicle for tackling the shortage of adopters, so it is hardly surprising that we haven't seen big improvements in this area."
The LGA, working with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), and the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS), are now exploring a package of measures to encourage more prospective adopters to come forward.
This includes removing financial barriers that currently deter councils from recruiting more potential adopters than they need for their own area. At present, councils pay a fee of £13,000 to other councils to take on adoptive parents who are ready to adopt a child, but for whom no child has been found in their own area.
However, this only meets about half the estimated cost of actually recruiting and assessing adoptive parents. To counter this and encourage a national scheme for adopter recruitment the fee could be increased to £27,000, which is a level recognised as being more representative of the true cost of the adoption process.