UK Government takes action to improve adoption and fostering
New arrangements for approving carers will make adopting and fostering process faster and more efficient, according to Whitehall.
The Government seeks to review the procedures that aim to allow foster carers to make everyday decisions about the children they look after. It also seeks to cut unnecessary bureaucracy in the approval process in order to encourage more people to come forward to foster. There is also the need to reduce the time it takes to adopt and make the whole process more user-friendly.
These measures should help fostering services recruit more people and support foster carers in providing a normal family environment for their foster children.
By speeding up the assessment process for adopters, the Government expects that more babies will be settled into adoptive families earlier in their lives.
The Government also intends to introduce measures to encourage councils to do more to enable children in care to be placed with stable and loving adoptive or foster families more quickly.
New measures will include a new two-stage approval process for adopters. A new fast track procedure for approved foster carers and previous adopters will be introduced. Adopters will be approved rapidly as temporary foster carers.
The councils will be required to ensure that children are matched with adopters as soon as possible and that the child details on the Adoption Register are kept up to date. Meanwhile, all the adoption agencies will have to refer prospective adopters to the Adoption Register no later than three months after approval.
The requirement to interview personal referees when a person has been an approved foster carer in the last year and a reference is available from their last fostering service will be removed.
"I know from my own family that adopting and fostering can transform young lives for the better. I want more children in care to have the opportunity of a stable, loving environment where they can reach their full potential, whatever their start in life," Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said. "Sadly I have come across too many potential adopters who have given up, frustrated by the system and foster carers exasperated by the bureaucracy required for every day tasks."
"I want the process to be as hassle-free as possible. Vital safeguards will remain, but no-one benefits from pointless paperwork. By cutting back the rules that only hinder I hope that more and more people will come forward to become adopters and fosterers to enrich their own life, as well as the lives of the many children who deserve a decent childhood," he added.
After the consultation the changes are set to take effect next year.