“Chronic shortage” of carers willing to take on sibling groups
49 percent of all children in the UK currently waiting to be adopted are part of a sibling group, according to research, and now children’s charity Action for Children is acting to raise awareness of the effect of sibling group separation as part of National Adoption Week.
Organised by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, National Adoption Week (which runs 3rd-9th November) aims to increase the number of carers willing to foster or adopt sibling groups.
Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “Sadly, we know the separation of siblings is rife across the care system and it is not just children waiting to be adopted. Our latest research found that a quarter of Humberside children were separated from their brothers and sisters when placed in foster care during the last financial year.”
Cumbria county council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Anne Burns said: “The bond between brothers and sister is unique, and where it’s best for the children, we will do all we can to keep them together. Being adopted together can help children settle into a new family and have a positive sense of who they are.”
In an open letter to adoptive parents, parliamentary under secretary of state for children and families, Edward Timpson, expressed “sincere thanks” to those who have provided parenting for some of the most “vulnerable children”. Timpson goes on to explain how the government intends to improve services for children and adopters by introducing reforms and providing more funding.
“As a result of these reforms, as well as the huge efforts of local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies, we saw the number of adoptions rising to over 5,000 adoptions in 2013-14. This is a 63% increase in just the last three years. It means thousands more of our most vulnerable children have found the loving and permanent homes they so desperately need,” Timpson states in his letter.
Timpson confirmed a £19 million government fund to support the introduction of a new national Adoption Support Fund in 2015. The fund intends to provide adoptive parents with therapeutic support to ensure that adopted children have a “stable and fulfilling childhood”.
Further details on the fund and how it can be accessed will be available on the First4Adoption website.