Boosting adoption: Government funds three new voluntary adoption agencies
6000 children still need a home
The government has announced the opening of three new voluntary adoption agencies (VAA) in a bid to encourage more people to consider adopting a child, taking the total number to 28 across the country.
The three new VAAs, based in Cambridge, Sunderland and the Midlands, have each been awarded start-up grants of £500,000 from a £16m fund which the government hopes will recruit and support parents to provide a “stable and loving home”.
According to the government there are 6000 children waiting to be adopted, and although 650,000 people in England say they are considering adopting imminently, the number of actual parents adopting is lower than the number of children waiting.
The government says each of the three new agencies have committed to recruit and support 100 adopters in the first three years.
Through the 25 VAAs currently operating throughout England, 600 prospective parents have been recruited and approved in 2012 to 2013.
The government says it is attempting to make the process easier for prospective adoptive parents by introducing the following reforms:
- The introduction of a more streamlined process for people who want to adopt or foster a child
- The provision of a first point of contact for anyone interested in adoption through First4Adoption
- The publishing of adoption scorecards that allow comparison of the delay for placement of children in care in each local authority
- The introduction of legislation that will:
- ensure court hearings on children entering care last no longer than 26 weeks, except in exceptional circumstances;
- encourage ‘fostering for adoption’ – placing children with approved adopters who will foster a child while they wait for court approval to adopt;
- give adoptive parents the same pay and leave rights as birth parents from 2015;
- allow prospective adopters to access the adoption register directly, subject to appropriate safeguards, in order to identify children they may be able to adopt successfully.