Councils urge Lords to stop adoption reforms

8 Oct 13
Peers are being urged to block government plans to remove councils from the process of recruiting and assessing would-be adoptive parents.

The Local Government Association today re-stated it opposition to the proposal, which it called ‘heavy-handed’. It warned that, if implemented, it could reverse recent improvements in increasing the number of children placed with adoptive families.

Ministers want to see more children in local authority care matched with adoptive parents and have criticised the amount of time it can take councils to approve adopters. These delays, government says, deter people from applying to be adopters.

Under the Children and Families Bill, local authorities that fail to recruit adequate numbers of adopters could see this power outsourced to voluntary sector agencies.

But David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s children and young people’s board, said yjod would be a ‘heavy-handed step in the wrong direction which risks making things worse for children and adopters’.

He added: ‘Removing councils from the process of recruiting adopters at this crucial time would be a reckless gamble that risks jeopardising the significant progress being made.

‘Adoptive parents tell us that the relationship with their council lasts long after they adopt. It is crucial that we have a joined-up adoption system, which gives adopters a consistent point of contact from the moment they enquire about adopting to long after they have taken a child into their family.’

The LGA wants peers to back calls made by Lord Storey and Baroness Hamwee to remove the measure from the Bill, which is being examined in Grand Committee in the House of Lords this afternoon.

Earlier this year, the association joined with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services to submit alternative proposals on how to significantly increase the number of prospective adopters.


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