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Government’s adoption plans threaten the role of family, social workers claim

Efforts to place children in care with extended family members could stall if government plans to speed up adoption go ahead, social workers have claimed.

In an assessment of the forthcoming Children and Families Bill, the College of Social Work claims that the ‘fostering for adoption’ plans are ‘unworkable’.

Fostering for adoption would see children placed with adopters who have already been approved. These would then foster the youngsters while awaiting approval for full adoption. But this could, the College claims, interfere with efforts to find extended family members who might be able to look after the children – an arrangement known as ‘kinship care’.

“It is critical [to] support relatives and friends to come forward at an early stage so that they can be assessed as potential carers. The current foster-for-adopt proposals could squeeze out such family placements, while the speeding up of care proceedings could mean that it’s too late for family members to be assessed within the court timescales, once proceedings are under way.”

Local authorities should have a statutory duty to explore the possibility of family placements before adoption, the College believes.

“…if there is a suitable and willing member of the family, such as a grandparent, wishing to raise a child in care, this should continue to be prioritised over placing the child for adoption. Such family placements offer the same stability and continuity for a child as placing them quickly with a potential adopter. They promote positive outcomes for children into adulthood, children state they feel happy and secure.”

The College also criticises the 26 week timetable for family proceedings included in the bill, saying:

“There is a genuine risk that the [timetable] could result in too much focus on procedure and not enough on the welfare of the child.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Lukey says:

    It seems extraordinary that Social Workers are so desperate to keep the adoption process as a long one – all the evidence points to delay being bad for the children but they seem more worried about their processess…

  2. Dana says:

    Do social workers look to kinship care? If they do it’s just to rule them out! They say, “You cannot look after your grandchild as you will not be able to safeguard the child from the parents!”. What rot! The social workers find it easier to dispense with the family and put the child up for adoption or fostering. This is what is wrong with the skewed thinking of social workers. Another child in the care system!

  3. YG says:

    we have been to court to oppose a placement order on our 3 year old grandson we could not afford legal representation. The judge ruled against us social services had asked the adoptive parents of our grandsons half sibling and it seems they want him , no other reason.
    We said he would be better off with us as we have a close bond and we are his family the judge replied he is going to family he has a half sibling, this child is is 10 years old our grandson has no idea who he is how cruel and heartless. Another child gone to strangers. We were shocked at the lies social services and caffcass wrote in reports to the court how can this be allowed?

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