This week’s Queen’s Speech is expected to include proposals to help speed up adoption, by encouraging councils to work more closely together to place children in new families.
The Express reports that the government’s proposed Schools and Adoption Bill will contain new powers to force local authorities to merge services, if they have not already done so within two years.
It is estimated that more than 3,000 children are waiting to be matched with new parents. More half of these have already spent at least 18 months in local authority care.
The new proposals will aim to widen the pool of potential adoptive parents, as well as reducing waiting times.
The Department for Education has complained that the adoption process is “happening at too small and too localised a scale”.
Legally no one can be turned down for adoption on the grounds of sex, age, racial background or sexuality – but assessments can be lengthy for parents waiting to adopt:
Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson – who has two brothers who were adopted – said:
“Every single day a child spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability – this just isn’t good enough.
“By coming together and joining forces, councils can make sure more children are matched with families far quicker, regardless of where they live.”
Chief executive of Adoption UK, Hugh Thornbery, said that despite the government doing more to speed up adoption, even more needed to be done.
“Too many of our members still report a high and unhelpful degree of variability in the approach of adoption agencies,” said Mr Thornbery.
”I have long held the view that 180 agencies in England does not make sense, when only 5,000 children a year are being placed.
“The encouragement to local authorities and voluntary agencies to work more closely together under regional arrangements makes sense, as long as we see continuous improvements in matching children and supporting families.
“The last government made significant progress – as seen in the increase in the number of children placed.
“We hope proposals in the Queen’s Speech will build on this intention to provide brighter futures for children for whom adoption is the best option.”
Former Education Secretary and current Justice Secretary Michael Gove was also adopted as a child – and has changed official adoption guidance to remove barriers to adoption.
The previous requirement that children should only go to families of the same racial or cultural background is one of the changes made, to enable more children to be adopted by loving families, regardless of racial or cultural background.
Duncan Lewis Adoption Solicitors
Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of family and child care lawyers with acknowledged expertise in helping parents through the adoption process – Including adoptions in the UK and international adoption.
Duncan Lewis has extensive contacts with local authorities children’s services and advises on care proceedings and children taken into care, as well as Court of Protection cases.
Our lawyers regularly advise married couples, single people and same sex couples on adoption and family and child care law.
For expert legal advice on adoption and international adoption, call Duncan Lewis adoption solicitors on 020 7923 4020.