The Department for Education has launched a consultation on measures designed to speed up and simplify the adoption and fostering process in order to encourage more people to participate.
The proposed measures include elimination of the existing legal requirement for previously approved adopters or foster carers to undergo a criminal records check if they wish to adopt using a new fast track process.
In addition various new measures are proposed, including the adoption of a new two-stage approval process for adopters; the rapid approval of adopters as temporary foster carers; and a new legal requirements for details stored on the adoption register to be kept up to date.
Edward Timpson MP, the Minister for Children and Families, said:
“I know from my own family that adopting and fostering can transform young lives for the better. I want more children in care to have the opportunity of a stable, loving environment where they can reach their full potential, whatever their start in life. Sadly I have come across too many potential adopters who have given up, frustrated by the system and foster carers exasperated by the bureaucracy required for every day tasks.”
“I want the process to be as hassle-free as possible. Vital safeguards will remain, but no-one benefits from pointless paperwork. By cutting back the rules that only hinder I hope that more and more people will come forward to become adopters and fosterers to enrich their own life, as well as the lives of the many children who deserve a decent childhood.”
The new measures are set for introduction next year after completion of the consultation.
An additional £8 million has also been announced for adoption services, to help deliver a broader programme of legal reform.