Queen’s speech outlines new legislation for adoption and care leavers

18 May 2016

Today’s Queen’s Speech outlined details of a new Children and Social Work Bill focussing on adoption and the care system. In her annual address during the State Opening of Parliament, Her Majesty reiterated the Government’s pledge “to ensure that children can be adopted by new families without delay, improve the standard of social work and opportunities for young people in care in England.” Amongst the measures set to be law are:

A statutory requirement for Local Authorities to “prioritise adoption where that is the right thing for the child”. 

A duty on local authorities and schools to promote educational achievement for adopted children and those in the long-term care of family members or guardians.

A “Care Leavers’ Covenant” requiring local authorities to publish the services and standards of treatment care leavers are entitled to. 

The introduction of more rigorous professional standards for Social Workers and a new specialist regulator for the profession.

The Children and Social Work Bill is part of  a series of ongoing reforms of the adoption system detailed in The Department for Education’s  recent policy paper,  Adoption – A Vision for Change published in April.  Writing in the Sunday Times this week, David Cameron said he was “unashamedly pro-adoption” adding “these are not someone else’s children; they are all of ours so every part of society should be stepping up to help care leavers get a shot at building a decent life.”

You can read the Queen’s Speech in full here

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