14:48  |  16 September 11
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Chamber of Debate

ADOPTION - an unnecessarily lengthy process?

Should the state abolish regulations that make it less likely for children IN THIS COUNTRY who are in need of a stable home life from being adopted by married couples IN THIS COUNTRY at the earliest possible opportunity, rather than allowing these children to be emotionally damaged after years spent in care and foster homes because of a lengthy and bureaucratic adoption process that favours job-creation for social workers rather than the best interests of the child and adoptive parents?"



Adoptions fall to lowest for years
By Laura Clout
Last Updated: 2:16am GMT 12/11/2007

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/09/nabort209.xml


Hundreds of children are facing a life trapped in the care system after the number of people willing to adopt fell to its lowest level in almost a decade.

There were 4,764 adoptions in Britain last year — a fall of almost 10 per cent from 2005 and the lowest number since 1998.

Adoption charities say children are missing out on finding permanent families because of the widespread view that the adoption process in Britain is too difficult.

advertisementOther would-be parents are turning to adoption agencies abroad, because the process of bringing home a foreign child is viewed as less bound by red tape.

The result is that many more of the 4,000 children in Britain who are waiting for an adoptive family are left in care.

A recent survey by the the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) found that although more than a fifth of respondents had thought about adopting a child, many believed that being over 40, unmarried or unemployed would rule them out. In reality, the charity says, there are no blanket bans and adoptive parents can come from all backgrounds.

About half of the 2,000 people questioned were aware of the desperate shortage of adoptive parents, particularly for older children, groups of siblings, youngsters from some ethnic minority backgrounds and those who may have developmental difficulties.

The new adoption figures, from the Office of National Statistics, represent children adopted from the care system, as well as those already living with one natural parent who have been adopted by a step-parent. Data on children from the care system alone shows that in the year ending March 2007, 400 fewer children were adopted than the previous 12 months.

David Holmes, the chief executive of the BAAF, says the decline is partly explained by the "alarming misconceptions" about modern adoption as well as the new special guardianship procedure – an alternative.

"Attention isn't as focused on adoption now," he said. "There is still a large group of children for whom adoption has been identified as the best option, for whom it isn't being achieved."

After a flurry of overseas adoptions by high-profile figures, the BAAF hopes to encourage prospective parents to consider children in the UK care system.

"Often, inter-country adoptions have a very high profile but in fact there are 10 times more adoptions from our own care system than from abroad. People need to understand that adoption really does happen in this country," Mr Holmes added.

"I'm not saying that our adoption process isn't rigorous. But what people often see is the high-profile person coming back with the child. They don't see all the processes the individual will have gone through beforehand. It's often exactly the same process overseas."

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, recently adopted a second son from the US, where his wife grew up. Other high-profile adoptive parents include the actress Angelina Jolie, who has spoken of her desire to create "a rainbow family"; the singer Madonna, who adopted a baby from Malawi last year; and the actor Ewan McGregor, who adopted a four-year-old Mongolian girl.

Kevin Brennan, the children's minister, said: "It's a pity that there are still myths around the adoption process but we're pleased to be working with BAAF and supporting their National Adoption Week, which can help to dispel them.

"It is a fundamental right of every child to belong to a loving and stable family. We know that many children in care wait too long to be adopted and that for some a suitable adoptive family is never found, which is why it is crucial that anyone interested in adopting comes forward."
Vote: Currently, the adoption process takes a minimum of 2 years. Should it be as long as this?

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Members Comments

Anselm 24-Dec-2007 15:25
Such regulations should be abolished. A child should remain in the country they are born in and the government/adoption agencies should work to find them the best possible family where they will have a good life.

A married couple are the best adopters as this is generally the most stable relationship and it gives the child a mother and father figure.
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