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ADCS makes recommendations for adoption
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has published a position statement setting out potential changes to the adoption system in response to criticism that it takes too long for a child in care to be permanently adopted.
The statement recommends that:
- the information required about potential adopters should be reviewed, to ensure that only relevant information is collected;
- reports to court and to adoption panels should contain more analysis, rather than description;
- adoption panels should be streamlined so that they focus on the selection of adopters rather than care planning;
- inspection and performance data should focus on outcomes rather than process; and
- Government policy should promote alternative forms of permanence, such as Special Guardianship, as well as adoption, as ways of offering a permanent and stable home for vulnerable children.
Matt Dunkley, President of ADCS said:
"Local authorities and social workers are at the heart of the system for finding permanent homes for some of the most vulnerable children and recognise that adoption offers the best chance of stability for a lot of children. The current process is cumbersome and does not leave room for social workers to use their professional judgement to make decisions in the best interests of children. We would like to see a streamlining of this process so that potential adopters are asked relevant questions to ensure sufficient rigour, but are not bombarded with questions that do little to help identify the best match between children and adoptive parents.
"Of course social workers do not make the final decision about whether a child should be adopted – that is a question for the courts. The Family Justice Review made some very strong recommendations about how the process should be speeded up and these should be implemented as soon as possible. Indeed we believe full implementation of the review's recommendations on public law would go a long way to address these issues."
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