AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

Posts Tagged ‘legal process

Adoption: targets and figures

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calculator and graphNew figures on the number of adoptions in England and Wales are reported in the media today with the general message that there needs to be more adoptions and the process needs to be speeded up.

I’m always wary of these calls to action. Adoption figures can be related in so many emotive ways… “languishing in care” or the contrast “forced adoption… child snatchers”, leading to calls to increase or decrease the numbers of adoptions.

Focussing solely on numbers means you miss the factors that create those numbers. More exploration of the figures is needed to see where the bottlenecks are and what part of the process can be improved to address these.

There are faults with the adoption process and care system and these need to be addressed by improving systems and processes and offering the right support to professionals and families. But a rush to change everything and speed things up could lead to important steps being missed.

Myths about who can and can’t adopt need to be debunked and the process of adoption demystified.

Most importantly for me, the support of families and children is paramount. The ongoing impact of early abuse and neglect on children who go on to adoption is not given the same recognition as that of the looked after child, with some families opting for a long term foster care arrangement rather than adoption so that they don’t lose specialist services for their child.

Regardless of the numbers, the end result of all these processes should be that a child is living in the family setting that is best for them and that they are given the best chance to thrive.

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Written by adoptresources

September 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

It’s not about the numbers

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calculator and graphMartin Narey, the outgoing CEO of Barnardos and Tim Loughton, Children’s Minister have called for a reconsideration of current practice in relation to matching ethnicity in adoption to increase the number of adoptions. This is definitely an area that needs to be addressed but the whole matching and approval process would benefit from a bit of TLC. Media attention has focussed on the ‘increasing numbers of adoptions’ message but the real aim should be  better processes for everyone involved, not just trying to increase numbers on any side of the equation.

In an ideal world, there’d be fewer adoptions because children would be cared for in their own family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So, in the event that a child is not able to be cared for in their own family, the next aim should be to make their journey to a permanent home as short and untraumatic as possible. It’s not about aiming solely to change the figures and stats around adoption but to:

  • improve the processes for approval of prospective adopters – with less variation in criteria between agencies
  • provide more resources for effective planning and decision making for children taken into care
  • improve the matching process and cut down delays in moving children to permanent placements
  • improve post-placement support through:
  1. better assessment of childrens needs at the time of placement in foster care or with their adoptive family
  2. improved access to support for foster carers and adoptive families
  3. matching support and resources to the child’s needs and not to their legal status (fostered or adopted)

By focussing on the processes and not just numbers you can improve the outcomes for children and families and surely that should be the aim.

Written by adoptresources

January 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

Child protection

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A documentary last night (Panorama, BBC1, 23rd August) discussed a case where a family endured an ordeal as the police, legal and social services tried to establish the cause of an ‘unexplained’ fracture in their son. The case against the parents was eventually dropped but not without causing significant distress to the family. A blog about the show has prompted a debate about the rights and wrongs of the handling of this and similar cases.

The effects of any injustices on families is devastating and there is no disputing or defending that. However, some of the comments on the Panorama blog hinted at a social services system on the lookout for babies to place for adoption, with adoptive parents waiting in the wings, ready to start a new family life.

As an adoptive parent, I do not want there to be any hint of uncertainty about the evidence or need to place any child in care. The issues adopted and fostered children face in coming to terms with the circumstances of being placed into care and the loss of their birth family are huge and would  be unimaginable if there was any dispute over the reasons and the need for their placement.

My happiness at becoming a Mum is always balanced with the fact that behind the scenes there is sadness, trauma and loss for our children and their birth families.

There are lessons for all of the agencies involved in the highlighted case but, from my experience, the motivation to place children in care does not and should not come from a need to meet targets in adoption.

Written by adoptresources

August 24, 2010 at 8:39 pm