Duncan Lewis

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Adoption and child care

Date: (9 May 2013)    |    

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As the number of children in care continues to rise and stands at 67,000 the numbers being adopted has been declining in 2010. There were 3600 children under the age of 1 in care but only 60 were adopted the reason being cumbersome process involved.
The government has been of late taking measures to simplify the adoption system to encourage more people to adopt and make sure children are placed swiftly with a family where their best interest lies.
Also being improved is the quality care and long lasting placements for looked after children either in residential care homes or with a foster family to give them a better chance to succeed in life.
The government to encourage people to adopt and to reduce the time taken for children to be suitably place has plans to:
• Simplify process for people who want to adopt or foster a child
• Provision of a first point of contact for anyone interested in adopting through First4Adoption
• Introduce scorecards that allow a comparison of the delay for placement of children in care in each local authority
• Introduction of legislation to
o remove race, religion, cultural and linguistic considerations by social workers when matching a child with adopters
o ensure court hearings on children in care completes in less than 26 weeks, except in exceptional circumstances
o encourages ‘fostering for adoption’, ie placing children with approved adopters who will foster the child while they wait for court approval to adopt
o gives adoptive parents the same pay and leave rights as birth parents from 2015
Looked-after children
To make sure looked-after children in any type of placement receive high-quality care,
• maintain the current programme of evidence-based early interventions for looked-after children and for those on the edge of care
• ensuring every council has a virtual school head (VSH) in charge of getting children in care the support they need to succeed at school
• listen to the views of children in care
To improve the stability and quality of long-term foster placements, the government would
• reform the process to approve and assess foster carers to make sure they have the appropriate skills
• give foster carers the training and support they need
• monitor the stability of foster placements by improving the way we collect data from local authorities
To improve the quality of care in children’s homes it plans to
• ensure that looked-after children receive better care and protection
To support children and young people who have left care:
• improved services for children who return home
• keep the wellbeing of care leavers in mind