David Cameron has announced that child adoption services are to be streamlined, with council adoption services being merged into regional organisations.
The move will enable children awaiting adoption to be matched with suitable families much more quickly.
The government has asked that all councils put in place plans to join a Regional Adoption Agency by 2017 – a total of 140 councils out of 150 have already made plans to streamline their services, however.
Children will also be placed at an earlier stage with their adoptive families.
In another move, relatives who wish to take on Special Guardianship of a child may face tougher assessments under the new measures.
The government says that Special Guardianship Orders can break down if a child is sent to live with relatives they are not familiar with. In some cases, children are sent to live with family members they do not even know when their parents are not able to care for them.
Announcing the changes, the Prime Minister said:
“It is a tragedy that there are still too many children waiting to be placed with a loving family. We have made real progress, but it remains a problem.
“As Prime Minister, I want to make sure that we do everything we can, so children are placed in a loving home as soon as possible, giving them the best chance for a happy and fulfilled life.”
In August 2014, during the Coalition government, Mr Cameron spoke at a Relationships Alliance Summit about the change in the law to enable more people to adopt children in need of loving homes.
He said that often children were left in care because it was not possible to find “the perfect match” for a child – and that addressing the bureaucracy that prevented children being placed in adoptive homes had been “a priority”:
“We’ve swept away the ridiculous rules that stop children being placed in a loving home – rules on race, age and family circumstances,” the Prime Minister told the summit.
“If you are the right person to bring up a child, you should be allowed to do it.”
Mr Cameron went on to defend the right of same sex couples to adopt.
“…just as the state should not deny someone the chance to get married because of their sexuality, so neither should we automatically deny a couple the chance to adopt because of their sexuality,” Mr Cameron said.
“When there are children in need of a loving family and gay couples with so much love to give, we should not allow prejudice to stand in the way of progress for our children or for our wider society.”
Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers
Duncan Lewis children lawyers can advise on adoption and international adoption – as well as adoption by same sex couples or single parents, co-parenting agreements, guardianship, wardship and surrogacy.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers also advise on children taken into Local Authority care, care proceedings, child abuse, Section 38 enquiries, pre-proceeding meetings and Court of Protection cases.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide – and Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of Legal Aid solicitors.
For expert legal advice on child care and family law, call Duncan Lewis children lawyers on 0333 772 0409.