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Adoption rate had fallen to a new low - as reported in The Times today

(6 Posts)
SallyDon Thu 29-Sep-11 18:02:54

The fall in the number of adoptions is a tragedy for children in the care system. There still needs to be honesty about domestic adoption though. Parenting children who have suffered early neglect and abuse is very challenging and the support available is, in our experience, often poor. An estimated 30% of adoptions break down, with severe consequences for all involved. Get the support right, particularly medical and educational support and perhaps adoption rates will improve and the rate of adoption breakdowns will reduce.
I'd love to say adoption is all wonderful and many aspects of it are, but it's not as simple as that.

Lilka Thu 29-Sep-11 18:36:45

I was just about to post a thread about this!

National adoption and children in care statistics for March 2010-March 2011 now released. To summarise:

1. The number of children in care now stands at 65,520. However, the number taken into care in the last year fell slightly, from 28,090 to 27,310
2. However, the total number of adoptions fell again, from 3200 to 3050. Definite downward trend continuing
3. Of these, the number of babies under 1 whose adoptions were completed fell from 70 to 60 (it was 150 in 2007)
4. There were 2450 children matched to parents this last year (adoptions uncompleted)
5. 72% of children adopted were placed within a year of the decision being taken to have them adopted
6. 335 of the adopted children were matched with their parents via the national register

NanaNina Thu 29-Sep-11 18:48:51

I too saw this article in the Guardian and am a retired sw and tm mgr of a fostering & adoption team for a LA with 30 years experience. I agree with you that it is regrettable that the adoption rate has fallen to a new low, but I am not surprised.

The chief exec of Barnardoes has been saying for a long time that care cases should be speeded up and less time spent on trying to keep the child with the birthfamily and I agree with this, but of course the first duty of the sw is to keep families together wherever possible. Judges will not grant Care Ordesr if he/she feels that the birthparents haven't been given every opportunity to learn to keep their children safe.

The sad truth is that if babies are neglected or abused in their earliest days, weeks and months this will have dramatic effects on the way they function through life. There is evidence now that babies can be harmed in utero if there is domestic violence and tension in the mother. The first 3 years are the most important in a child's life and lay down the foundation for their entire life.

Many adoptors think that if they love and care for these children all will be well, and sometimes of course this is the case, but for many many children they have been so seriously damaged in their early life, that they are unable to settle into normal family life. I have seen adoptive families torn apart by the difficulties of adoption, marriages break up and mental health difficulties suffered by one or other of the adoptive parents.

You mention break down rates and the older the child the more likely that the adoption placement will break down. I think you are right that there should be far far more support available, and post adoption support is now a legal duty for LAs. The trouble is that LAs are struggling with 30/40% vacancy rates inthe inner cities, large numbers of sws off sick with stress related illnesses, and now have to spend around 60/70% of their time before a computer screen (thanks to Lord Laming) and child protection is the main priority.

With the cuts that this govnmt are making (well slashing budgets rather than cutting them) the situation can only get worse.

Lilka Thu 29-Sep-11 18:53:26

I have several articles today about this and I have to say, the one in the daily mail is really bad. Poorly written, and several innacurate things mentionned. The picture caption makes out that there were only 60 adoptions overall. Evidently only babies count. Plus some of the people commenting are insisting that 40 is considered too old, and that since biological parents don't have checks there's no real need to do extensive checks on adopters
Also, it says that the sole reason for the drop in adoptions of babies from 1976 to now is red tape. Um, actually I think it's mainly because we've stopped forcing single women to sign away their rights just because they're single! And yet people are making out that it's some kind of travesty this has happened?? Aargh

I feel it's not about having huge numbers of people wanting to adopt, its about having the right people. 30 ish percent of children in England weren't matched within a year, I'd guess many were those who are 'hard-to-place' ie. more serious physical and emotional special needs. It isn't so easy to find parents for them

That said, I believe children are waiting too long BEFORE the placement order is granted. We seriously need to speed up the court process once the paperwork is lodged for a placement order. It can take ages to actually get to the hearing, not because the legal teams are preparing paperwork, but because of the backlog of cases. Sadly, I think only putting a lot of money in is going to fix that, and I doubt the gov will want to do that

MysteriousHamster Thu 29-Sep-11 19:10:00

It concerns me that this kind of article will make more people say to infertile couples 'you should just adopt'. While considering adoption is certainly worth doing, it doesn't follow that every infertile couple is suitable for all that adoption entails - which is certainly not a guarantee of any child.

It does strike me that it is taking too long for approved couples to get matched (or perhaps get approved in the first place?), but I don't know enough on the subject to comment knowledgably.

methusulamum Thu 29-Sep-11 23:24:06

My adopted daughter and i made this clip today to encourage more adopters for the 3,500 children in care.

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