A new ‘adoption passport’ published by the government aims to set out the full range of support available to people considering adopting a child.
Support available includes leave from work for new adoptive parents, paid at rates similar to maternity and paternity leave. Adopters may also receive priority access to council housing and school places as well as support and advice services.
Children’s Minister Edward Timpson said:
“For too long children have been left waiting – in many cases over two years – for the stable, loving homes, whilst prospective adopters have been dissuaded from offering those children the security they need. So we’re overhauling the system to encourage more people to adopt, and making it swifter, more effective and robust.”
He said the forthcoming Children and Families Bill would place a new duty on local authorities to ensure potential adopters were fully informed of the range of support available.
“Alongside the Adoption Passport this will tackle misconceptions which we know put off potential adopters.”
The government-funded First4Adoption information service highlights a number of adoption myths on its side, pointing out, for example, that it is not necessary to have a high income, be under 40, or already have children to adopt.
Launch of the passport was accompanied by a new research which highlights the extent to which post-adoption support currently varies across local authorities around the country. The government also published its response to a previous consultation on tackling delay within the adoption and fostering system. This sets out changes due to come into force this summer, including a fast track adoption procedure for previous adopters and foster carers who have already been approved.
According to the Department of Education:
“Today’s package is the latest in a series of reforms the government has made to tackle the chronic shortage of adopters and reform the way they are recruited.”