Proposed adoption reforms could save as much as £310 million, the government claims.
The reforms will be part of the Children and Social Work Bill which is scheduled to be scrutinised line-by-line in the House of Lords later this month. This ‘committee stage’ usually takes around two weeks.
In a Department for Education (DfE) assessment of the bill, the government insists that their new measures will save hundreds of millions over the next ten years. These measures include an increase in the number of looked after children being adopted and fewer foster care placements.
The savings will be boosted by the merging of adoption services into regional centres which will provide a wider pool of potential parents, the DfE claims, and as a result more children will be adopted quickly.
However, adoption experts are not convinced that the reforms will make much difference at all. A spokesperson for the Fostering Network said that “the vast majority of the rising number of children who will continue to come into care will not, nor should be, freed for adoption”, regardless of what the government promises.
Most children in care are ten years old and upward, the spokesperson said, and the fastest growing age group are teenagers. In those circumstances, it is “highly unlikely that adoption would be assessed as the best permanence option for these children and young people”.
Read the full impact assessment here.