Children’s Minister Michelle Donelan has written to all Directors of Children’s Services expressing concern about falling numbers of adoptions and confirming that adoption will be a priority for the new government, as a route to permanence for children in care.
The letter states:
‘We are determined to see adoption pursued whenever it is in a child’s best interests and to develop a fully regionalised system where all children are matched with adoptive parents without undue delay.’
Figures published by the Department for Education (DfE) last month revealed the number of adoptions in England has fallen by a third in the past four years, dropping to 3,570 in the year up to the end of March 2018 from a peak of 5,360 in 2015.
The Minister also emphasises the vital importance of ongoing support for adoptive families: ‘We want to ensure adoptive families receive ongoing support from the moment their child is placed with them and throughout their childhood.’
Donelan’s letter acknowledges that adoption is not the only option, and praises foster care, kinship care and special guardianship.
Adoption UK has welcomed the Government’s renewed commitment to a fit-for-purpose adoption sector. Chief Executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown said:
‘Where adoption is the right option for a child, we need a system that works brilliantly to find the right family, and to support them throughout their lives together. Of course adoption is not the only route for children who can’t live with their birth parents. Many children are thriving in kinship care and other sorts of permanent arrangements. But this is welcome confirmation from the government that they place a high value on the love and stability adopters provide for some of the most complex and vulnerable children in society.’
You can read the full letter here.