A month after the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle, Nadhim Zahawi MP has been officially announced as the new Children’s Minister. 

Mr Zahawi was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education in January but his specific brief was not announced. It has now been confirmed that he takes over the Children and Families brief following the removal of Robert Goodwill MP less than eight months after his appointment.

Adoption UK’s chief executive, Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, has already written to the Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon to wish him well in his Ministerial role and seek early engagement with him to discuss the challenges faced by adopters.

She said: “I am eager to build a good relationship with the new Minister and to begin the dialogue around what policy improvements can be achieved during his tenure and how Adoption UK can support him in that important task.

In a wide-ranging brief, Mr Zahawi will be responsible for adoption, special educational needs and local authority performance. His brief differs slightly from Mr Goodwill’s with, among other things, the inclusion of safeguarding.

Mr Zahawi was born in Baghdad in 1960s and came to the UK aged nine when his family fled Iraq the following decade. He was raised in Sussex and educated at King’s College School in Wimbledon. In 2000, he co-founded the internet polling firm YouGov and was chief executive until his election to Parliament in 2010. Despite being an MP for nearly eight years, there is little on record about his views on early years, social care or education.

Adoption UK enjoyed constructive relationships with Mr Zahawi’s predecessors. Edward Timpson brought considerable personal insight into adoption and was responsible for far-reaching achievements for adoptive families in England, including the establishment of the Adoption Support Fund. Mr Goodwill  secured additional funding for the ASF and provided a video address to the 400 delegates at Adoption UK’s annual conference in November.

Dr Armstrong Brown continued: “I have brought to the Minister’s attention the devastating impact adopted children’s early experiences can have on school and family life. I look forward to discussing with him the best ways to support adoptive families, including investing in well-supported adoptions and putting the adopter experience at the heart of policy and practice.”