Friday, December 23, 2011

UK embraces adoption

New Zealand isn't alone with its seemingly high level of child abuse and neglect. (I say seemingly because we cannot objectively know what the levels were in earlier times when families - particularly rural families - came under far less scrutiny). Many English-speaking countries struggle with the same problem , including the UK.

I blogged earlier about CYF's attitude to adoption and the resulting very low rate of adoption. I believe this is a bad thing. Yes, adoption can have its drawbacks but it is clearly preferable in some situations. Those situations outnumber the current rate of adoptions.

So it is encouraging to see the UK moving to free up the process of adoption. This is from the Children's Minister, Tim Loughton:

The assessment process for people wanting to adopt is painfully slow, repetitive and ineffective. Dedicated social workers are spending too long filling out forms instead of making sound, common-sense judgements about someone's suitability to adopt. Children are waiting too long because we are losing many potentially suitable adoptive parents to a system which doesn't welcome them and often turns them away at the door.

I am determined to change this. I have this week set up a new expert group to look at radical reform of the assessment process. I want it to be quicker and more effective at approving adoptive parents and matching them with children. We cannot afford to sit back and lose potential adoptive parents when there are children who could benefit hugely from the loving home they can provide.

In October the UK had a National Adoption month and they are running this campaign, Give a Child a Home. And the government is also publishing performance tables to show the progress of local authorities in achieving better results in placement and adoption.

I note too that Coro St is running a story on two couples wanting to adopt. When aspects of social life change they are reflected in the story lines. These fictional stories are very powerful in getting ideas into the public consciousness.

So the unfashionableness (new word) of adoption has gone in the UK.

Hopefully it will go from New Zealand as well.Link


Maungakiekie said...

I agree that the process of adopting in New Zealand can and should be a lot simpler. The main thing, in my opinion, is the track record of the prospective parents: if they already have children, are they doing a good job with them; if not, do they have a good reputation with those who know them best?

I know that adoption is not something that should be done in haste, but I'm sure it is possible for things to be sped up at least a bit.

Lucia Maria said...

In the UK, they used to have Catholic adoption agencies. They've all since closed down because the requirement to unsuitable adoptive parents, such as those of the same sex.

Brendan said...

Open adoption is a wonderful answer to teenage pregnancy, giving hope and opportunity to all parties.

Let's trust our Government gets the message.

Anonymous said...

Open adoption is a wonderful answer to teenage pregnancy

but all parties don't deserve a "wonderful answer".

Stop all benefits to bludgers, and give those teenager a couple of years in the army in Iran or Afganistan.

That's a "wonderful answer" to teenage pregnancy!

Blair said...

Get it out of the hands of the government, and let people pay for the babies. There should be some regulations to protect everyone's rights, but otherwise t should be as simple as buying a car.