The Bill contains a range of measures intended to improve and speed up the adoption process. Some of these, such as the introduction of improved leave and pay for adopters and increased use of personal budgets, are to be welcomed. Measures specific to children in care, such as requiring local authorities to provide Virtual Heads for children in care, are also welcome but could go further.
However, TACT believes the Bill is a missed opportunity to introduce wholesale improvement to the care system. In particular, measures to improve permanence outside of adoption, such as through the creation of an order similar to the Scottish Permanence Order for children in long term foster care, have not been considered. Neither is there any measure to improve the support offered to children and young people leaving the care system due to age. This is despite the Government’s frequent acceptance of the need for improvement. Even the focus on adoption does not properly address concerns over the lack of ongoing support given to adoptive families.
Commenting on the Bill, TACT CEO Kevin Williams said;
“Opportunities to effectively improve the care system are rare. Unfortunately, the Government’s excessive focus on adoption means that this Bill looks like a missed opportunity to help the large majority of children in care for who adoption is not the right option. In particular, there is nothing to help achieve permanence through long term foster care or to improve support for those leaving care towards independence. There is some positive change taking place but, without effectively addressing the issue of adoption support, TACT’s concern is that even the adoption changes will fall short of what might be achieved.”
For further information contact Gareth Crossman, TACT Executive Director of External Affairs on 07976 389 925 or 020 8695 8120