The coalition government announced that it had asked a group of experts to draw up a new process to recruit, train, and assess people as adoptive parents in England. It described the existing system as 'slow and unnecessarily bureaucratic'.
Source: Press release 22 December 2011, Department for Education
Links: DE press release | Action for Children press release | Adoption UK press release | Barnardos press release | Labour Party press release | BBC report | Community Care report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
The Prime Minister threatened 'tough action' against local authorities in England that failed to deal with adoption cases swiftly and efficiently, or who were weak at finding suitable and stable foster placements for children. High-performing local authorities could take over services in other areas that were failing, or services could be forcibly contracted out. The government published, for the first time, 'transparent data' on the performance of local authorities on key issues such as adoption rates and the educational attainment of the children in their care.
Source: Press release 31 October 2011, 10 Downing Street
Links: Downing St press release | DE press release | Performance tables | Action for Children press release | ADCS press release | BAAF press release | Barnardos press release | Fostering Network press release | BBC report | Community Care report | Public Finance report | Telegraph report
An article examined developments and trends that affected the fluctuating relationship between state and voluntary provision of adoption services in England during New Labour's terms of office (1997-2010).
Source: Janet Fink, Anisa de Jong, and Mary Langan, 'New challenges or different opportunities? Voluntary adoption agencies and the shifting terrain of childcare services', Voluntary Sector Review, Volume 2 Number 2
An article examined whether the inter-agency fee was a good reflection of the expenditure incurred by local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies (VAA). It was found that the fee had failed in its purpose to encourage inter-agency co-operation and provide full cost recovery. The VAA sector was in crisis, and the children who were likely to suffer from closures were those who were older, those from ethnic minorities, and those needing a placement as a sibling group.
Source: Julie Selwyn and Joe Sempik, 'Recruiting adoptive families: the costs of family finding and the failure of the inter-agency fee', British Journal of Social Work, Volume 41 Number 3
The government published new guidance on adoption in England. It said that it wanted to see more children adopted where this was in their best interests, particularly those from minority-ethnic backgrounds, older children, and those with disabilities. Local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies should be more welcoming towards all potential adopters – and not turn people away on the grounds of race, age, or social background. The government would also be investigating how inspection of local authority adoption services could be strengthened; and whether enough was being done to support approved adopters who were not matched with a child.
Source: Adoption Guidance: Adoption and Children Act 2002 – First revision: February 2011, Department for Education
Links: Guidance | DE press release | Speech | Adoption UK press release | BAAF press release | Barnardos press release | BBC report | Children & Young People Now report | Community Care report | Guardian report | PinkNews report | Telegraph report