National Adoption Strategy published in England

On Monday, the Government published its Adoption Strategy for England titled ‘Achieving Excellence Everywhere’, which outlines its long-term vision and proposals for improving adoption.

On Monday, the Government published its Adoption Strategy for England titled ‘Achieving Excellence Everywhere’, which outlines its long-term vision and proposals for improving adoption. The strategy sets out the Government’s plans for several areas including recruitment of adopters, the approval process, matching, early permanence, support, health, and education. Most importantly, the document includes practical steps whereby the voices of adopted children, adopted adults, adoptive families and birth families can be listened to and embedded within policy and practice developments. The overarching ambition of the strategy is to ensure that “every adopted child and their family can access the services and support they need wherever they live, and maximise children’s outcomes in the short and long term.”

There are many positive aspects of the national strategy that we welcome. We are pleased to see the recognition that a greater quantity of adopters will not solve the crisis of children waiting to find their forever home. Rather, we need adopters with the right skills to meet the needs of children who are waiting too long. The strategy outlines a commitment to equipping adopters with the education, training, and confidence needed to adopt children who wait the longest, which includes sibling groups, children from minority ethnic backgrounds, children with disabilities, and those over the age of five. While we welcome the reaffirmation that adoptive homes need to be found more quickly for some children, we recognise that this must be held in balance with finding the right homes for children and ensuring that adoptive families are thoroughly prepared and equipped to parent an adopted child over a lifetime. Home for Good’s specialist Information Evenings – as well as our network of passionate Champions - enable individuals and families to be informed about the realities of adoption, even as it evolves and changes over a lifetime. Home for Good is passionate about inspiring individuals and families to consider whether they could be the family that a child needs, rather than approaching adoption as a means of family completion. We are therefore pleased to see evidence of this mindset shift within the strategy.

Recognising the need to go beyond family-finding and matching to see children and families thrive over the long-term demonstrates a significant step forward within Government thinking around adoption policy and priorities. The strategy outlines a commitment to exploring how families can access the Adoption Support Fund in a more timely way, as well as improving awareness of the fund among special guardianship families. It also makes proposals to improve adopted children’s experiences of education and access to health support, as well as ensuring that support is in place during key transition points, including school changes and the transition to adulthood. We hear every day through our busy Enquiry Line that the Adoption Order is only the start of the journey for adoptive families, with many facing an ongoing battle with the impact of trauma on an adopted child’s life. In calling individuals and families to step forward to adopt, Home for Good passionately believes that support – in its most comprehensive and holistic sense – should be there every step of the way and that failing to sufficiently support families is not only an issue of integrity but actually impedes recruitment efforts.

The strategy states clearly that all individuals and families enquiring about adoption should receive a “warm welcome” but that in practice, some are faced with obstacles at the earliest stages due to either their sexuality, religious beliefs, or practical barriers including the lack of a spare room or not owning a home. Home for Good is committed to working with Government and other leaders within the adoption sector to identify and remove all unnecessary barriers to children finding the right home in a timely way. Our Faith Literacy Training for agencies and social workers enables greater understanding and constructive conversations about faith between social workers and prospective adopters, and initiatives such as our Foundations Course are enabling those considering adoption to feel better prepared for the process in all of its joys and challenges.

Much of the strategy leans heavily on the ability of agencies and local authorities to step up, and while there are improvements that can be made by these bodies, we also must not lose sight of the enormous role that charities, and faith communities can play in making this vision a reality. So too, in recognition that adoption will not be right for all children, many of whom will have had similar adverse experiences in their childhood, we long to see equivalent attention and ambition for children living in foster, kinship, and special guardianship arrangements.

The Government’s strategy is welcome and Home for Good stands ready to ensure it is translated into tangible improvements within the adoption system, in order that every child reaches their potential.

Author:
Natalie at Home for Good


Date published:
28 July 2021


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