Adoption UK welcomes a review of Scotland’s care system which calls for a “radical overhaul” and places the views of care experienced children and young people at its very heart.

The Independent Care Review report, hailed as the most significant review into Scotland’s care system to date, aims to deliver lasting change and leave a legacy which will transform the wellbeing of infants, children and young people.

It places great importance on the need to ensure that all decisions around care and permanency are based upon what is best for each individual child – with the voice of the child at the heart of the system.

Adoption UK is particularly pleased by the report’s recognition of the vital role that adoptive parents play in transforming the lives of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

It reads: “Adoptive families must be given support and attention required to love and care for their children, particularly where the ongoing impact of trauma and broken attachment is felt by the child and the family.” (The Promise section of the report)

Reassuringly, the report goes on to conclude that timely and relevant post adoption support is a vital tool in ensuring adoptive families stay together.

“Scotland must also not assume that a successful adoption match is the end of the need for support”.

It continues: “In order to help carers to continue to care, Scotland must recognise that kinship, adoptive and foster families may need ongoing, intensive support.”

The report also highlights the need for mental health services to be available for all families, and for these services to be able to respond to the specific needs of care experienced children. In addition to this, the report calls for intensive family support to be available for all families in Scotland, where needed, and for this to be available for adoptive families:  

“Adopting parents must have access to support at any point during the life of their child if they require it. That support must be available even if it was not initially required and must mirror the principles of intensive family support.” (p76, The Promise).

Recommendations in the report include: 

  • Prioritising the safety of the child, along with their feeling of being loved
  • Support be provided to adoptive families at any stage that it is needed
  • Access to peer support networks for adoptive families
  • Availability of information and advice to adequately prepare prospective adopting parents
  • Mental health services to be made more knowledgeable and available for care experienced children

Fiona Aitken, Adoption UK’s Scotland director said: “This is an incredibly important piece of work - which will affect the lives of millions of children - so we’re delighted that the real-life experiences of care-experienced children and young people, as well as those of their families and carers, is at the very heart of this review. Only by listening to their experiences can significant improvements be made to the care system.

“We at Adoption UK Scotland are really keen to observe and be part of the next steps in implementing these changes to improve experiences for adopted children and their families.”

The report also acknowledges the change in adoption over the last 50 years, and heard stories of positive adoption experiences, along with the pain of breakdown, emphasising the need to avoid this, and to support those affected by adoption disruption.   

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an “independent, root and branch review” of the care system - to look at the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos - after she met a group of children and young people in care, in October 2016.

Adoption UK ensured the voices and experiences of adoptive families were heard loud and clearly throughout the three-year review, by inviting parents and their adopted children to various events, including meetings with Scotland’s First Minister.

Adoption UK would like to thank all of the parents and young people who ensured the voices and experiences of adoptive families were heard, by joining the charity for discussions, focus groups, fun events and meetings with the First Minister.

You can read the full report on the Care Review website.