Adoption strategy aims to end postcode lottery that leaves children waiting to find ‘forever familie’

26th July, 2021 5:02 pm

The strategy confirms that adopters should never be put off from pursuing an opportunity to adopt because of their social background, ethnicity, sexuality or age.

New national standards for adoption will end the “postcode lottery” in services across England, the Government has said.

The national adoption strategy aims to cut waiting times and confirms that adopters should never be put off from pursuing an opportunity to adopt because of their social background, ethnicity, sexuality or age.

It will be backed by £48m extra funding in adoption services to cut delays through better training, improvements to the approval process and funding for targeted recruitment campaigns.

Money has also been allocated to boost post-adoption help for families, to provide family support sessions, cognitive therapy and activities to help children recover from earlier traumas and settle into their new homes.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “There is no substitute for a loving, permanent family. A stable family unit is key to boosting life chances and there are so many adoptive parents across the country who have opened their homes and hearts to some of our most vulnerable children, often with very challenging backgrounds.

“We are committed to improving adoption services, as well as breaking down barriers so that parents from all walks of life can adopt and to ensure they are not deterred from adopting simply because of their background.”

Waiting times for children to be adopted have come down in recent years, with the average time between a child going into care and being placed with their new family falling from 22 months in 2012 to 15 months by 2020.

However, long waiting times remain a problem, particularly for children with special educational needs and disabilities, siblings, older children and those from ethnic minority groups.

Figures published last October showed that 27 per cent of children waiting for families are over five years old, five per cent have complex needs and over 26 per cent are black, Asian or children of mixed ethnicity.

The Government has launched a campaign to encourage adopters of all backgrounds to come forward for children waiting, with statistics suggesting that black children are less likely to be adopted than other children because there are fewer black, Asian and minority ethnic adopters being recruited.

Krish Kandiah, chair of the adoption and special guardianship leadership board, said: “There is a huge need for people from a wide variety of backgrounds to step up and be the parents that children in care need.”

He added: “This new strategy gives us an opportunity as a nation to make sure every child, whatever their colour, age, abilities or gender, knows the love of a forever family.”

Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram – a charity which runs one of England’s biggest regional adoption agencies – said: “Too many children are waiting too long and all parts of the sector – local authorities, voluntary and regional adoption agencies – need to work across boundaries to tackle barriers to adoption whether they lie in practice approaches, decision-making process and public perceptions or in challenges of housing, financial pressures or access to support.”


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