New £48m National Adoption Strategy launches in England


by Mother & Baby |

The new strategy is an attempt to improve adoption services, and help place more children with families.

The investment in adoption services hopes to improve services, benefiting thousands of families who will recieve better support when adopting children.

Charity Adoption UK said there were nearly 3,000 children waiting to be adopted in England - the average wait is now 15 months from the point they are taken into care.

But older children, siblings, those with special educational needs and those from ethnic minority groups can face difficulty finding a place.

Improving post-adoption support

Councils will be urged to prioritise an adopters' ability to provide a stable environment for a young person to grow up in.

Alison Woodhead, Adoption UK's director of public affairs and an adoptive parent herself, welcomed the fact the strategy marked a shift from placing children with families to "supporting those families over the long term".

It is an "important moment" for adopters - but the concern is how to hold adoption agencies to account "for making these big shifts" without new legislation in place.

The strategy is funded by £48m for 2021-22, adding to an investment of more than £200m for adoptive families since 2015 - including post-adoption support, therapy and activities.

Lucy Peake, the chief executive of the Kinship care charity, said the funding would "mean that many more kinship carers will be able to access advice and peer support when they need it, helping them provide stable and loving care for vulnerable children".

Challenging misconceptions

The government wants to "break down some of those barriers from the past", which has led to people thinking they can only adopt children of the same ethnic background as them.

They also want to challenge other misconceptions, adding that you do not have to be in a couple to adopt, or own your own home, for example.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "There is no substitute for a loving, permanent family. We are committed to improving adoption services, as well as breaking down barriers so that parents from all walks of life can adopt and to ensure they are not deterred from adopting simply because of their background."

Cathy Ashley, of Family Rights Group, said the charity's advice line "received more calls than at any time in its history" last year, with new funding allowing it to advise 1,300 more callers a year about their rights and options.

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