The coalition government announced a new package of support for people in England who wanted to adopt. It included looking at ways to give adopters a more active role in the adoption process, with the chance to make a connexion with a child in advance and play a greater role in finding the right match.
Source: Press release 24 December 2012, Department for Education
A report by a committee of peers said that it was unconvinced by the coalition government's argument that adoption rules encouraging social workers to try to place children with families from their own ethnic background were causing delays. It described the government's efforts to speed up the process by placing children with foster parents likely to go on to adopt them as a 'missed opportunity'.
Source: Adoption: Pre-Legislative Scrutiny, 1st Report (Session 201213), HL 94, House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption Legislation, TSO
The inspectorate for education and children's services published the first of an annual series of statistical reports on adoption, covering the period 2011-12.
Source: Adoption Agencies Quality Assurance and Data Forms 2011-12: Experimental statistics, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
The coalition government published draft legislation designed to reform the adoption system by removing barriers and reducing delay, so that all children for whom adoption was in their best interests could be placed quickly with adoptive families.
Source: Draft Legislation on Adoption: Early Permanence through Fostering for Adoption and Matching for Adoption, Cm 8473, Department for Education, TSO
A report by a committee of the National Assembly for Wales made a series of recommendations for improving adoption services.
Source: Inquiry into Adoption, Children and Young People Committee, National Assembly for Wales
The coalition government began consultation on proposals designed to make adopting and fostering a faster and more efficient process – thanks to new arrangements for approving carers that it said would cut 'unnecessary bureaucracy'.
Source: Adoption and Fostering: Tackling Delay, Department for Education
The coalition government announced plans to speed up the placement of children in England in need of adoption. It said that it intended to change the law so that local authorities would have to consider placing children with approved adopters who would foster the child first, so that a permanent stable home could be provided as soon as possible.
Source: Proposals for Placing Children with their Potential Adopters Earlier, Department for Education
Links: Report | Downing Street press release | DE press release | Conservative Party press release | BASW press release | Coram press release | Labour Party press release | LGA press release | BBC report | Community Care report | Nursery World report
The coalition government published a discussion paper on the placement of sibling groups for adoption. It that although it was often best for siblings to be adopted by the same adopter or adopters, there could be disadvantages as well as advantages to this approach. Decisions about whether to place siblings together should be made on the basis of the best interests of each individual child.
Source: Placing Children in Sibling Groups for Adoption: A call for views, Department for Education
A survey highlighted the need for improved support for adoptive families. At any one time, around half of adoptive families were in need of some sort of adoption support service: but accessing support services was difficult for many adopters.
Source: Erika Pennington, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, Adoption UK
A report examined evidence in relation to the views of children and young people on the processes associated with fostering and adoption services. Children reported that although the decisions to take them into care were often the right ones, they had little choice about where they would live. Generally, they were aware of their care plans, but reported having little involvement in what was included in them.
Source: Mary Minnis and Fiona Walker, The Experiences of Fostering and Adoption Processes: The views of children and young people – Literature review and gap analysis, National Foundation for Educational Research
An adoption 'scorecard' was published (for the first time) showing the time taken by each local authority in England to process adoption cases.
Source: Press release 11 May 2012, Department for Education
The inspectorate for education and children's services said that the most significant cause of delay for children needing adoption in England and Wales was the length of time it took for cases to be completed in court. The average time taken to complete care proceedings was almost 14 months. Although there were some delays caused by issues such as a lack of suitable adopters or weak planning, these were generally not as significant as those caused earlier by delays in initiating and concluding care proceedings.
Source: Right on Time: Exploring delays in adoption, HMI 120010, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
Links: Report | OFSTED press release | ADCS press release | Adoption UK press release | Barnardos press release | BASW press release | Labour Party press release | LGA press release | BBC report | Community Care report | Public Finance report
A review examined the concepts used in discussions on matching by adoption services, and how these could affect the way in which matching was approached; outlined the existing research base and priorities for future research; explored the existing models for assessing children and potential parents, and discussed how they might be improved.
Source: David Quinton, Rethinking Matching in Adoptions from Care: A conceptual and research review, BAAF Adoption and Fostering
An article examined post-adoption family relationships from the perspective of adoptive parents.
Source: Christine Jones and Simon Hackett, 'Redefining family relationships following adoption: adoptive parents' perspectives on the changing nature of kinship between adoptees and birth relatives', British Journal of Social Work, Volume 42 Number 2
The coalition government published an action plan for adoptions in England, setting out proposals to overhaul the system for prospective adopters and strengthen the performance regime for local authorities. Proposals included: 'scorecards' to be used to rate local authority performance on adoption targets; the approval process for new adopters to be cut to 6 months; and a new 'national gateway' for adoption to provide a first point of contact.
Source: An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling delay, Department for Education
Links: Action plan | Hansard | DE press release | ADCS press release | Adoption UK press release | BAAF press release | Barnardos press release | Coram press release | Fostering Network press release | LGA press release | BBC report | Community Care report | Guardian report
The inspectorate for education and children's services said that local authorities in England would only be able to achieve an 'outstanding' judgement if they ensured that all children identified for adoption were placed within 12 months, under new adoption inspection arrangements.
Source: Inspection of Local Authority and Voluntary Adoption Agencies: Framework for inspection from April 2012, HMI 120004, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills