However, The Who Cares? Trust believes that adoption may not be the right answer for many of the 65,520 children in the care system – these children may stay in the system for a short time, have complex needs or simply not wish to be adopted. The charity would like to see a more balanced discussion of how to improve the experience of all children in the care system.
The Trust’s Chief Executive, Natasha Finlayson said:
‘The Government has recognised that outcomes for adoption vary between local authorities. This is not just a problem in relation to adoption, but for all looked-after children and care leavers. Variation will not be tackled until scorecards include all elements of the care system, not just adoption nor just local authority functions. The government must take a wider view and make commitments about how it will challenge those areas that fall short.
There is evidence of what makes a real difference to the experiences and outcomes of children in care and these things need to be put into practice and properly resourced. More and better recruitment, training and support of foster carers and more high quality residential provision are crucial if we are to ensure that supply can meet demand in the care system. Only by doing this can we provide the best possible placement for every child coming into care and help them achieve the outcomes they deserve.’
The Who Cares? Trust asked young people from care what they thought of the Government’s proposals.
Amy, 19, said:
‘Adoption is often a fantastic idea for certain families and children in need, and in certain cases there is no doubt it is the right option for a child. However the possibility of a placement with close family relations is an equally good option that is rarely considered. This would keep entire families from losing a relative, and might make the child's coming to terms with their past easier.
For the people that adoption is the best or only option for, then more support needs to be put in place for the new family to work through any potential issues from the child's background and to prevent the possibility of relationship breakdowns. Any child that has been through the care system will have had serious hardships, and the need for support should be considered in all types of care placement.’
Kyle, 23, said:
‘Adoption isn't right for all young people. I do not think I would have wanted to have been adopted, not because I had a better life in care system, far from it. But I like the fact I was in control of my own destiny. Does a baby or toddler have a choice to say I want to be adopted, no. I think it is unfair to make that choice for them unless they are in serious danger. I just don't want adoption to be a government initiative to save money in health and social care but an initiative to benefit the lives of its young citizens.’