At last there’s help for people adopting neglected
children
About a quarter report major challenges in caring for
their ch...
This has begun to be addressed. The new act places a duty on local
authorities to inform adopters of their entitlements. A...
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The Times the Adoption Leadership Board

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The role of and challenge facing the new Adoption Leadership Board. But in only 400 words......

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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The Times the Adoption Leadership Board

  1. 1. At last there’s help for people adopting neglected children About a quarter report major challenges in caring for their children Martin Narey Published at 12:01AM, April 15 2014 Since The Times launched its campaign in 2011 to increase the rate of adoptions, there has been a 30 per cent rise in the number of children finding permanent families. Last year, 4,000 children were placed, the highest since the current data started being collected in 1992. But we still need more adoptions and more adopters. There are about 6,000 children waiting for new parents. The Children and Families Actgiven royal assent just a few weeks ago will make a difference, addressing as it does, the urgent need to place children with their adopters sooner, often in a fostering capacity, and the need sometimes to separate siblings when it is manifestly in their interests. More importantly, the new act will end the well-intentioned but frequently unnecessary ethnic matching of adopters and children, which means that black children spend a year longer waiting for adoption than white children. At the same time, a landmark report from the University of Bristol has punctured the myth that 20 or 30 per cent of adoptions fail. When, in 2011, I wrote a report on adoption as part of The Timescampaign, I suggested that the real rate was about 10 per cent, and lower for children adopted in infancy. Last week’s report from Bristol establishes the overall failure rate at just 3.2 per cent, which will offer reassurance to potential adopters. But the report also demonstrates that behind this encouraging statistic there are many adopters who are struggling. That doesn’t surprise me. During the past three years I have come to know adopters who are little short of heroic in their parenting of children damaged by neglect. About a quarter report major challenges in caring for their children, and many struggle to obtain adequate support.
  2. 2. This has begun to be addressed. The new act places a duty on local authorities to inform adopters of their entitlements. And last year, the piloting of individualised support budgets began, allowing adopters to buy in the support — child therapy, perhaps — that they need. But providing adequate support remains a huge challenge. The gap between children waiting and the number of parents willing to adopt will not be closed unless prospective adopters are confident they will not be alone if the going gets tough.

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