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Give babies to foster parents who want to adopt them says PM

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on Tue, 07/17/2012 - 10:52
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Babies will be placed with foster families who want to adopt them under plans to reduce the disruption to children in care.

It currently takes over two years for a child to be adopted, with babies passed between foster parents and carers before they finally find a permanent home.

Child experts have warned that severe upheavals early in life are emotionally and mentally damaging for youngsters.

Now David Cameron has said he is determined to speed up the adoption process.

Quicker process: Babies will be placed with foster families who want to adopt them under plans to reduce the disruption to children in care

He said ministers will legislate to make fostering by approved adopters ‘standard practice’ for children under the age of one.


‘These new plans will see babies placed with approved adopters who will foster first, and help provide a stable home at a much earlier stage in a child’s life.

‘This way, we’re trying our very best to avoid the disruption that can be so damaging to a child’s development and so detrimental to their future wellbeing.

‘I’m determined that we act now to give these children the very best start in life,’ Mr Cameron told the Times.

‘These babies deserve what every child deserves – a permanent, secure and happy home environment to grow up in.’

The new Children and Families Bill will place a legal duty on local authorities to consider ‘fostering to adopt’ as one of the options for all children under the age of one in care.

Caution: Labour's spokesman on children Lisa Nandy warned that a speedier process should not be at the expense of getting the right placement

Social workers will also be banned from blocking adoptions on the grounds of race or ethnicity if an otherwise suitable family is available.

White children are currently three times more likely to be adopted because guidelines used to tell social workers to seek parents with similar ethnicity.

Only 3,050 children were adopted from the care system in the year to March 2011, a record low, despite an increase in the number of children in care.

Earlier this year, the Department for Education started publishing local authority ‘scorecards’ to reveal which councils were failing to ensure children in their care were adopted quickly.

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s spokesman on children, said the process should be quicker – but warned: ‘This must never be at the expense of getting the right placement for a child, particularly in complex cases where siblings or severely disabled children are involved.’

She added: ‘Children also need time to come to terms with the process, to say goodbye to their birth families and get to know their potential adoptive parents.The interests of the child must remain paramount.

‘There is real concern amongst adoption and care professionals that the Government’s target, to conclude the process within six months, may lead to rushed decisions or put local authorities off recommending children for adoption in the first place.’

Foster parents only provide family life for someone else’s child when they are unable to live in their birth family.

Adoption is a legal process, with a court permanently transferring all parental rights and responsibilities for the child to their new family.

By Gerri Peev