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to wonder what the appropriate time scale is to allow parents to improve in their parenting

(17 Posts)
babybarrister Thu 29-Sep-11 13:11:04

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15103845

The adoption process is slow and no doubt could be improved. However, I am very concerned about tackling this by means of speeding up the care process essentially by allowing parents less time to "get their shit together" such that care orders and adoption orders are made faster

So how long do MN etters think that a parent should have to improve their parenting until a final care order is made with a view to adoption? The reality is that proceedings probably take about 1 year [even having allowed for the strict timetable imposed]

AKMD Thu 29-Sep-11 15:13:57

It depends on a lot of different factors, such as how cooperative the parent(s) is being, whether the DC are in immediate danger, whether the issues are caused by the mum PND, which can be easily treated etc.

If the parent has already failed several children and shows no sign of improvement, I don't see much reason why subsequent children should have to suffer in their 'care' for any length of time. One year might not seem long to an adult but the first year of life is vital to a baby's development and if that is screwed up by giving people lots of chances that they don't deserve, the system is doing the child and thier eventual family a great disservice.

SpanishPaella Thu 29-Sep-11 15:30:23

a baby needs a loving parent, his/her needs should come miles before anyone else and the quicker the better

There is too much bureaucracy and red tape not to mention PC crap to wade through, all the while the little baby is becoming more and more damaged. You shouldnt get chance after chance to wreck your kids lives.

LineRunner Thu 29-Sep-11 16:50:55

I'm really interested in this. More children are coming into care than ever before, including babies. There is a shortage of foster carers. In some LA areas there is a shortage of foster carers not just for older children and sibling groups but also for babies.

I've read that Bernardos would like to see more babies adopted, and adopted more quickly, because of the evidence of better outcomes. Ofsted also examine LA's children's services on adoption rates.

Meanwhile LAs do struggle to balance the books for children's services. A child in care costs between £32,000 and £250,000 per annum, depending on levels of need. You could understand the rationale for leaning towards increased adoption to leave more resources for the other children in care and with spoecial needs.

But yet ... what could be worse than having a baby or child forceably taken away from you for adoption?

I guess I would want to see a very open and public set of criteria for increased 'speedy' adoption.

Your question is really hard to answer, OP. Good question, though.

ragged Thu 29-Sep-11 17:10:37

Someone I know fosters two babies, both white (which I think is relevant), both in care from birth, very little doubt from birth that they would be adopted. From what I remember, the baby girl has an older brother already being adopted and the baby boy has parents with learning difficulties who didn't/couldn't contest adoption.

The babies are approaching 8months & 12 months... in the whole county of Norfolk nobody wants to adopt the little boy. Presumably because of learning difficulty profiles his parents have on paper. There was a protracted process of thinking the girl might be adopted with her brother, but now not, so she is back down as available. They are both cute babies, well within normal spectrum for developmental milestones.

The whole process is taking A G E S. And that's when bio parents haven't contested the situation and it was known from birth practically that they would go for adoption.

So I think there's a LOT more to this delay than giving bad parents too many chances. There are other ways the whole process gets bogged down.

soverylucky Thu 29-Sep-11 17:17:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MothershipG Thu 29-Sep-11 17:52:11

A friend of mine who has 2 adopted children says that as the law stands each baby has to be treated as a new family unit so even if the woman has already had previous children taken off her the whole process has to start from scratch with each pregnancy.

But there is more and more evidence to show that neglect in the early months and years can cause permanent problems for brain development. Therefore organisations like Barnados are suggesting that babies are taken at birth so while the family tries to pull itself together at least the baby is getting the care and stimulation it needs for healthy development.

I really feel for social services in this regard as it's definitely a damned if they do and damned if they don't situation.

babybarrister Fri 30-Sep-11 09:27:47

I am a bit disappointed that more mn have not contributed to this as I would have thought it would be an important and current issue

- after all, if something goes seriously wrong in one of our lives, how long would we want to sort it out before our DC are taken away ....

LaWeasel Fri 30-Sep-11 09:46:17

We were talking about this yesterday too. Apart from feeling like SS have an impossible job...

It does seem like the logical thing is that babies should be adpoted as quickly as possible and I really have no idea how it has happened that it takes so long.

Although now I quite want to adopt some 4yos.

Sewmuchtodo Fri 30-Sep-11 09:46:22

As a mother of three (all my own biological children) I simply can't imagine not having my children... however, I also can't imagine any of them being ill treated, neglected or abused and in those circumstances a child deserves a stable and loving home, regardless of biological connections.

When I look at my new DD (3weeks) it is very obvious how attached she is to my DH and I already. She calms instantly when I hold her, as opposed to screaming with some others. I do not believe this is a biological connection, but simply that we are they people who love and care for her. She is already aware that she is loved, comforted and shown endless patience as are her siblings.

Surely any baby would be better placed earlier and given a regular, stable and loving environment to grow up in as opposed to becoming attached to several different people (foster carers, extended bio family, health workers etc).

It makes me feel really sad that so many people are longing to have a baby/child and the adoption process is so long (and frightening) that people are not going through with it.

kelly2000 Fri 30-Sep-11 11:36:55

It depends what the issue is, parents with learning disabilities should be give help not just have the baby taken. If someone had multiple babies they would be given assistance, not just have a couple of their children removed. Why treat those with learning disabilities differently? If a parent has PND surely they should be give time to recover rather than the baby being taken off and adopted to speed up the process.
I really disagree with taking babies at birth as until the parents are with that baby you cannot see if they will be good parents. i cannot imagine having my baby taken from me at birth just so social services could check I was going to be OK.

sovery,
I am not sure adoption was actually felt to be a positive process by the real parents. It often seems they were bullied by being told that if they loved their child they would give it away.

I also think if you are going to do soemthing as extreme as removing a child from their family, than you have to make damn sure the people who want to adopt the child are up to scrutiny. It seems a bit contrary that no-one minds children being removed from their families for their own good, but then think that taking a while to check the adoptive parents are suitable is just stupid red tape.

lesley33 Fri 30-Sep-11 11:44:08

ragged - I'm shocked by this. The messages being given out to the public for some time is that the children available for adoption are older children or children with severe disabilities. That is why some peopel have went abroad to adopt babies.

I think it needs to be publicised that babies are now available for adoption.

LineRunner Fri 30-Sep-11 12:41:07

I think that having PND should be an 'exception category' with regard to any new rules about having a child forceably taken into care and put up for adoption.

tethersend Fri 30-Sep-11 12:51:04

"after all, if something goes seriously wrong in one of our lives, how long would we want to sort it out before our DC are taken away ...."

The thing is, it's not really about us. Or the parents as such- it's about the needs of the child.

It's an incredibly difficult balancing act. Babies should be with their parents wherever possible; but babies need a stable, loving figure in order for attachment to happen.

Too many children are placed into care as babies, fostered, returned to their parents, the parents cannot parent, the child suffers emotional damage which can manifest itself in behavioural problems, another foster care placement and within (for example) four years, you have a confused and angry child who is very difficult to adopt.

I think to ask 'mn' what we as parents think is an appropriate time to give other parents to 'sort their shit out' is missing the point. It's about what is best for the child, and we may not be best placed to assess that.

tethersend Fri 30-Sep-11 12:51:42

"I also think if you are going to do soemthing as extreme as removing a child from their family, than you have to make damn sure the people who want to adopt the child are up to scrutiny. It seems a bit contrary that no-one minds children being removed from their families for their own good, but then think that taking a while to check the adoptive parents are suitable is just stupid red tape."

I agree with this. It makes the balancing act even harder.

LeggyBlondeNE Fri 30-Sep-11 12:57:31

Although, screening adoptive parents is usually done 'in advance' of a child/baby becoming available. (Based on a colleague who was 'on call' for a baby for about 6 months)

AKMD Fri 30-Sep-11 13:06:46

"I also think if you are going to do soemthing as extreme as removing a child from their family, than you have to make damn sure the people who want to adopt the child are up to scrutiny. It seems a bit contrary that no-one minds children being removed from their families for their own good, but then think that taking a while to check the adoptive parents are suitable is just stupid red tape."

I thought most prospective adoptive parents were vetted before they started going 'child shopping'?

If someone had multiple babies they would be given assistance, not just have a couple of their children removed. Why treat those with learning disabilities differently?

These are two totally different scenarios. I sure wouldn't want to be the social worker who assessed someone's learning difficulties as being so severe that they were incapable of looking ater a child but I do accept that this can happen and unless the parent(s) has someone committed to looking after them and their child 24/7 until the child is 18, no support is going to be adequate. I do remember a news report last year on a girl with svere LD who was told that her baby would be taken away shortly after birth, so her mum moved with her to Spain. In that case it shouldn't have been necessary to flee the country IMO because the mum would have been that total support in the UK.

if something goes seriously wrong in one of our lives, how long would we want to sort it out before our DC are taken away

I might be being naive here, but it just isn't going to happen to me. No one is going to contest that I am unable to look after a child or that the support network I have isn't strong enough to take up the slack as it did last year when I had PND so severe that I was suicidal. Even at my very lowest point, DS was always clean, fed, cuddled and played with because I know that that is what a baby needs. If I contracted a serious illness and was physically incapable of looking after a DC, all responsibility would fall to my DH or our extended families would step in. As that is the case, it is very hard for me to imagine what kind of a state I would have to be in before social services started looking at our family, so the opinions I have are the best I can do looking from the outside.

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