The National Review of Adoption meeting 20.1.2022.

I was privileged yesterday to be invited to attend and present to the independent review of children’s social care. This is described as “a once in a generation opportunity to transform children’s social care system and provide children with loving safe and stable families”.

Chaired by Josh McAllister, social enterprise enterpreneur and CEO of Frontline, a training organisation training professionals into becoming social workers. The review will conclude with recommendations in the spring.

Josh has an almost impossible task to incorporate the views of people from all sides of Children’s Services and come to some clear recommendations, which additionally don’t require extra funding. 

The meeting involved adoptees, adopters, professionals and researchers. 

There was a surprising level of consensus:


adoption processes are outdated. 

children need greater opportunities for direct and indirect contact. And agency’s need to support adopters in their efforts in this. 

Black, asian and ethnic Minority, disabled and older children are not well served and wait longer for adoption placements. This needs action. 

Adopters do not get timely or early enough support.

Adoption support fund needs to be available throughout a young person’s life.

Children may need additional support into their 20s 

Education staff need to better understand adopted children and trauma. 

The meeting also heard from an adoptee, birth mother and myself. I presented a summary of your comments from the group on the questions asked. 

Sarah Joel the national strategic lead for adoption made a presentation. 

She identified that every child who cannot remain at home should have a family. Adopted children should receive lifelong support and Sarah highlighted the declining number of children being adopted. While many are placed with family there should be attention to increasing opportunity for adoption. 

She talked about the racial disparity in outcomes.  Some children are not getting the opportunity to be considered for adoption, due to race, age or disability. There is a need to increase focus on early permanence and support in the early stages of adoption placements. She talked about the 32 regional adoption agencies commitment to increasingly listening to adopted children, to adopters and in decision forming their policies. She identified the need to respect young people’s identity and relationships and to be imaginative and exhaustive in, maintaining links with birth families. She said that adoption needs to be modernised to allow stronger relationships between both birth families, adopters and to talk to children. 

There is agreement that letterbox contact is outdated. Various local .authorities with regional agencies are looking at more creative ways to maintain contact. 

Adopters need to be helped to be more open to caring for older children and children who are going to be more challenging due to early traumatic experiences. The adoption industry identify that the adoption Support Fund has been positive but there is work to do in making that more available. Especially during during earlier stages of adoption and also, providing early help and support for older children and support throughout their life.

The final report will be published in the spring. 

Let me know what you think about   what has been said?

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