The government has published ‘Adoption passport: a support guide for adopters’, which sets out the support services adopters can expect from local authorities.
Previous research has suggested that up to 650,000 people are considering adoption, but many are put off because of misconceptions about the process – including lack of support.
With over 4,600 children waiting for loving homes last year, the government acknowledges there is a need to rectify the problem of councils not informing adopters about the help and support available to them. The duty to inform in the Children and Families Bill addresses these concerns.
The government has also published its response to the ‘Adoption and fostering: tackling delay’ consultation, which sets out the legal changes which will come into force by the summer, including:
- introducing a two-stage approval process for adopters, making the system swifter and more focused on the adopter and replacing unnecessary bureaucracy, so the majority of adopters are approved to adopt within six months,
- introducing a fast-track procedure for approved foster carers and previous adopters who wish to adopt, and removing the requirement for lengthy criminal records checks for those people who have already fostered or adopted,
- placing a legal obligation on all adoption agencies to refer prospective adopters to the Adoption Register within three months of approval, and ensure that the information on children waiting to be adopted is kept up to date,
- taking forward the ‘fostering for adoption’ initiative, enabling children to be fostered by approved adopters who could go on to adopt them if the court agrees to make a placement order, and
- an increased focus on giving foster carers the authority to make day-to-day decisions about their foster children - such as haircuts and school trips – allowing them get on with the job of looking after the children in their care.
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