Adoption: Bureaucracy

(asked on 23rd November 2020) - View Source

Question to the Department for Education:

What steps he is taking to reduce bureaucracy within the adoption system.

Answered by
Vicky Ford Portrait
Vicky Ford
This question was answered on 23rd November 2020

Ensuring the adoption system is effective is a top priority for this government, and I am determined to tackle the bureaucracy and inefficiencies that can prevent children who need a stable, loving forever home from finding one quickly.

I want to make sure that enough adopters are recruited for the children who need them, that they are matched swiftly to children and that they are properly supported as they form their new family.

In 2015, we had 180 different adoption agencies, a system which resulted in inefficiencies and delays for children. Our programme to introduce fewer, more efficient regional adoption agencies (RAAs) has now created 28 RAAs and they are starting to drive change.

For example, the first annual RAA evaluation report identified improvements in recruitment, matching and support. The latest evaluation of the RAA programme shows a 14-day reduction time for children waiting for placement. We have also seen a 35-day reduction for placement for our ‘harder to place’ children.

This year we have invested £1 million into adopter recruitment. RAA leaders, working with voluntary adoption agencies and others in the adoption sector, launched the #YouCanAdopt Campaign in September. The campaign aims to dispel myths and encourage more people from all walks of life to come forward to adopt. You do not need to be married or own your home to be a loving, adoptive parent. Agencies are reporting a large increase in enquiries, including from people from black, asian and minority ethnic communities. I would encourage anyone to look into the YouCanAdopt campaign.

The government has invested significantly in the Adoption Support Fund (ASF), which has provided more than £177 million for therapeutic support to over 62,000 families since it launched in 2015. The support provided to families through the ASF means that families have managed to access more timely therapeutic support for their children/family. Through our ASF COVID-19 scheme, launched in April, we provided £6.5 million to support up to 61,000 adoptive and special guardianship families struggling to cope with the challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

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