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MPs Raise Concern Regarding Government Adoption Focus

A group of MPs have stated that they are concerned regarding the government's stance on adoption arguing that adoption should be one of a range of options” rather than the “gold standard” for children in care.

The news comes following the second reading of the Education and Adoption Bill, which encourages adoption of children in care. The bill will see adoption agencies encouraged to merge their services into regional agencies, and will allow the government to force such action if needed.

The criticism from the government’s proposals has been met with enthusiasm among some family groups and charities such as Tact, with the charity stating that the government’s focus on adoption was “unhelpful”

More Focus Elsewhere

Labour MP Bill Esterson stated that the government had to do more to aid all children, even those who would not benefit from adoption. He called on the government to acknowledge that for more than 90% of children in care, fostering, residential or kinship care is the right option instead of adoption.

In a statement he said: “The bill says nothing about that, which raises concern that adoption is being considered the gold standard, when it should actually be only one of a range of options, which should be considered in full.”

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, said that the government had to “bring forward proposals on other permanent arrangements,” as soon as possible.

The secretary of state for education Nicky Morgan stated that despite the criticism, courts would look into all options for children in care before looking at adoption. She said that the bill aimed to focus on the 3,000 children waiting for adoption despite records showing that there are enough approved adopters rather than simply trying to focus only on providing adoption for all children.

Speaking about the new bill she said: “It will give councils a greater pool of approved adopters, make vital support services more widely available to adoptive families and better target the recruitment of adopters. It will also provide better value for money for the taxpayer.”

Foster Care And Adoption

The criticism of the new bill comes despite claims from The Fostering Network that more than 8,000 foster carers will be needed across the UK this year to meet the needs of those going into care.

The Fostering Network found that 25% of fostered teenagers were living with at least their fourth family in care, with one in six living with their fifth family and one in 20 with their 10th.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children’s education, wellbeing and ability to make and maintain relationships.

“Not being able to find the right foster carer also means that children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school and are split up from their brothers and sisters. Finding the right foster carer at the outset of a child’s journey in care can lead to stability, improved relationships and a positive experience of childhood.

“The Fostering Network estimates that there is an urgent need for fostering services to recruit 8,370 new foster carers across the UK in 2015, to meet the needs of the rising number of children coming into care.”

Contact Us

If you require legal advice regarding adoption, fostering or any childcare matter, our team of skilled solicitors and family law experts can give you the advice and representation you need. Contact us today using our online contact form.

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