A group of MPs have called on the government to urgently deliver more support for new parents in response to the Covid-19 crisis. 

The House of Commons Petitions Committee has this week published a report into the impact of the pandemic on those on parental leave, including adoption leave. The committee has recommended that the government temporarily extends parental leave for three months, with pay, in light of the pandemic. 

The committee decided to investigate the issue following a petition calling for a temporary extension to parental leave received more than 200,000 signaturesFollowing successful lobbying from Adoption UK, the committee is also looking to address long-standing issues with support for new adopters and special guardians. 

Firstly, it has recommended the introduction of financial support for self-employed adopters commensurate with that available to self-employed birth parents. And secondly, to extend all such leave and pay entitlements to special guardians, who currently receive no statutory support whatsoever. 

Adoption UK’s chief executive, Dr Sue Armstrong Brown gave evidence to the committee during its investigation, highlighting “the huge support opening up as families struggle to access professional support from schools, social services or medical services due to the pandemic. 

Rachael Maskell MP, chair of a cross-party group on adoption, welcomed the report, adding: 

“The committee has acted swiftly to provide a blueprint for supporting those welcoming vulnerable children into their home at this difficult time. It’s now up to the government to respond in kind by addressing the shortfall in support for adopters and special guardians.” 

The Petitions Committee is urging government to respond to its recommendations before parliament breaks for the summer on 22 July. Adoption UK will provide a further update following the government’s response.