Comment on recent research by the Transparency Project

Charlotte Ramsden, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee, said:

“To say that these findings show that some councils are setting targets for the number of children who should be adopted from care and that this may in some way be a concern is an oversimplication of a much more nuanced and complex issue. Local authorities were challenged to increase the effectiveness of their adoption processes several years ago including increasing the number of adoptions as children were perceived to be waiting too long for adoptive parents or ending up missing the opportunity for adoption due to lengthy care proceedings. This led to individual authority responses based on their areas of strength and weakness, linked to the use of the adoption scorecard and Ofsted inspection of adoption within the SIF. Recent adoption reforms particularly those around reducing the time it takes for children to be adopted from care have meant that councils have a smaller timeframe within which to recruit, assess and approve adopters, plus a shorter time to match children once a plan for adoption is agreed. Greater expectations about achieving shorter timescales for care proceedings and clear plans for permanence for children have led to active planning around a range of possible outcomes for a child. Local authorities analyse the needs of children coming into care and track permanence planning outcomes including predictions of planned or potential adoptions. Based on plans either actual or twin track, some may well use target numbers as a good way of ensuring children do not drift. Some are likely to have set targets to increase adoptions if they have been challenged for the low number of adoption outcomes achieved. Irrespective of any targets in place the welfare of the child remains the paramount consideration during care proceedings and where adoption is not in the best interest of the child it will not be pursued. The ultimate safeguard is the court which will not agree to the removal of a child into care unless this can be evidenced to be right for the child and will not agree to adoption as a plan unless that is also believed to be right for the child.”


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