| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

UK allocates $66 million to improve adoption services in England

England has launched a $66 million National Adoption Strategy that aims to improve adoption services and help place more children with families.

The government said that thousands of families will benefit from better support when adopting children – ending a postcode lottery that many face.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “There is no substitute for a loving, permanent family.”

Adoption support groups have welcomed the new approach.

Charity Adoption UK said there were nearly 3,000 children waiting to be adopted in England – the average wait is now 15 months from the point they are taken into care.

But older children, siblings, those with special educational needs and those from ethnic minority groups can face difficulty finding a place.

The new strategy is an attempt to tackle this, with clarification for local authorities that people looking to adopt should never be deterred from doing so because they are worried about their own background.

Instead, councils will be urged to prioritize an adopters’ ability to provide a stable environment for a young person to grow up in, the government said.

It will also provide more training for front-line staff and support the work of over 30 regional adoption agencies.

Alison Woodhead, Adoption UK’s director of public affairs and an adoptive parent herself, welcomed the fact the strategy marked a shift from placing children with families to “supporting those families over the long term”.

It is an “important moment” for adopters – but the concern is how to hold adoption agencies to account “for making these big shifts” without new legislation in place.