Children with “complex needs” could face a longer wait for adoption under the regional adoption agencies planned by the government, an adoption organisation has claimed.
Regional adoption agencies were a manifesto pledge of the Conservative party during this year’s general election campaign, and the new government has now announced plans which will require local authorities to merge their existing adoption services into the region-wide organisations.
The government claims this will mean “a greater pool of approved adopters to match children with, meaning they can be found a home more quickly.”
But the ‘social enterprise’ Adoption Link has now submitted evidence to the parliamentary Education and Adoption Bill Committee which is due to consider the plans, claiming that children with learning difficulties and similar issues could be disadvantaged by the new system.
“These children are more likely to require a search beyond their own region for a suitable placement, and barriers to inter-agency matching, and a sense of ‘self-sufficiency’ in larger agencies, may together make the situation for these children worse.”
Regional agencies could also mean, they explain, less choice for prospective adopters as they would no longer be able to change organisations.
“It is important for adopters to also have the option of changing agency if the relationship with a social worker or manager breaks down. Regional agencies would reduce, or for many adopters remove, this choice.”