Monday, 31 October 2011

Adoption in the news...

So adoption is in the headlines again today.... which is possibly as it should be as it's national adoption week. However, yet again, it's not positives but negatives and criticisms. Adoption is too slow... children are waiting too long, league tables, naming and shaming. But no solutions offered.

Cameron has decided that it's awful for children to be waiting for so long in the care system. And has published a league table of % of children placed within a year. However, the way to improve this according to the government is to Name and Shame those councils who are worst performing.... which will probably not improve the system at all! And as one of the so called worst performing councils stated - most of their adoptions are successful... slow but when made they stick!

I haven't got the answers - and yes perhaps it should be a little faster - rather than the average being over 2 and half years in care, perhaps the aim should be to get the average down to less than 2 years. But, more money, more training, would surely be an improvement rather than 'naming and shaming'.

Adoption should be the last the resort for children. Therefore surely it is important that social workers carefully consider plans for children. It would be better for my son, not to be my son. It would be better if he was been brought up by his birth mother if it was at all possible. It isn't, but he would have an easier life in some respects if it was. Adoption should not be plan A, or even plan B. It is not a magic answer, which removes all issues.

Many, many children (in the UK) in the care system are damaged by their birth parents. Adoption doesn't remove that damage - it's their for good. Even my precious boy-o, is damaged as at aged 2 he lost his foster carers, the only parents he really knows.

Spending up adoption, without appropriate checks would possibly lead to more newsworthy stories. To have more adoptions, you need to have more adoptive parents - our agency has about 80 children waiting at the moment....and the parents aren't necessarily there to adopt those children. And yes, there are adoptive parents waiting, but they are waiting for different children.

Our agency did okay in the tables - apparently between 80 & 90% of children are adopted within a year of coming into care. Boy-o is in the other 10-20% - he waited 2 years.

Speeding up adoptions is not easy, or fast, or cheap! And there are no quick fixes - and perhaps David Cameron should recognise this!

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