Government announces changes to adoption law & extends adoption support fund

14 January 2016

The government today announced that it will seek to change legislation as soon as possible to prioritise the placement of vulnerable children with a loving family where adoption is in the best interest of the child. For the first time ever, the law will explicitly state that councils and courts must prioritise the quality of care the child will need in order to recover from abuse and neglect. Where appropriate, children will be placed as quickly as possible with the person best able to care for them until their 18th birthday – rather than with carers who can’t provide the support they need over the long term.

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan said: “Every single day a child spends waiting in care is a further delay to a life full of love and stability – and this simply isn’t good enough. We have a responsibility to transform the lives of our most vulnerable children, making sure they get the opportunities they deserve. That’s why we are changing the law on adoption to make sure decisions rightly prioritise children’s long-term stability and happiness, so that children are placed with their new family as quickly as possible, helping them fulfil their potential and get the very best start in life.”

Increased government funding totalling over £200m will also be made available – redoubling efforts to breakdown bureaucratic barriers in the adoption system which can lead to children waiting in care for months longer than necessary.

The money will see the speeding up of adoptions of harder to place children; support the creation of new Regional Adoption Agencies to improve the recruitment of adopters – and the matching with children; strengthen voluntary adoption agencies; and ensure social workers have the right knowledge and skills to make robust decisions about the best placements for children.

In addition, the government’s Adoption Support Fund will be extended for the next four years, so adoptive families can access funding for crucial therapy services from day one of caring for their child, rather than waiting months for the adoption order to be finalised.

The government has also announced plans to change regulations so councils have to carry out more thorough assessments of ‘Special Guardians’, to make sure children are in the right home, and with the right relatives rather than distant family members they’ve never met.

You can read more about the changes here 

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