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Adoption system ‘not fit for purpose’

22 December 2011

The Government’s adoption advisor and former chief executive of Barnardo’s, Martin Narey, has branded the adoption system as ‘not fit for purpose’. So, an overhaul is planned.

Under the current system the wait for adoption averages over 2 years and around 1,000 children a year are unable to find families. This statistic is not helped by the system discouraging new applicants and existing applicants being turned away for being overweight or for previously smoking. There is clearly some work to do here.

Tim Loughton, has asked a group of experts to draw up new plans for assessing potential adoptive parents; not an enviable task. Whilst improvements must be possible, striking the right balance between protecting some of the most vulnerable children in society and opening the door to more applicants will prove challenging.

Social Workers have responded by saying that delays are an essential part of ensuring matches between children and adopters are sound and the risk of breakdown limited. There is a risk that for the sake of speed and numbers, the quality of assessments of potential adoptive parents could be reduced.

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