With National Adoption Week drawing to a close we thought it would be wise to reflect on the challenge that is adoption (see below) and the steps that local authorities, government and charitable organisations are taking to improve the process.
Adoption is a hot topic at the moment; Devon County Council recently confirmed that more than 80 children are awaiting adoption. We have also seen a recent boost in advertising by both Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council, trying to encourage people to consider adoption. The Government too have released information about plans to provide further support for private adoption agencies to try and increase the number of adoptions that are dealt with during the course of a year.
The Government has made it clear that it considers the current system of care proceedings and adoption proceedings to be inadequate in meeting the needs of children. The government has done its utmost to try and shorten proceedings by working with the Courts to bring in a 26 week deadline for care proceedings to be finalised as well as looking at the whole issue of adoption and adoption support.
Adoption can be a challenging process for adopters. Firstly they have to go through a strenuous process to become adopters which in itself can be off putting. Once they become adopters they need to go through the process of “matching” with children. It is vitally important that adopters understand that a large number of children who are placed for adoption will have come from families where there have been difficulties and will not be without their problems, which could be emotional, mental or physical. Recent Government plans have announced the availability of funding to provide counselling for children who have had challenging pasts to improve the chances of a successful adoption.
It is also clear from the figures that are being provided that adoptions of older children are far more difficult to find than those aged under 2 years. The Government therefore has decided that it will assist private adoption agencies with more support for placement of older children.
Local Authorities have their own adopter approval process as do private adoption agencies. Before going down that route it is important to understand what is needed and therefore discussions with an adoption agency is probably an important step in the process.
What if you have decided to adopt, how do you go about it?
If you are adopting through the Local Authority, they will assist in relation to their own specific process. Similarly the adoption process can be done through a private agency. It would be worth contacting them direct to discuss their own specific processes and requirements.
What about difficulties that may arise during adoption?
There are many questions that could be touched upon here – Would the natural family have any say? What about issues arising from any care proceedings?
In order to ensure that the process is as painless as possible, it is important that good clear legal advice is provided at the outset. This will ensure that the process proceeds without delay and with minimal stress to the adoptive family and the child involved. Most agencies and Local Authorities will have a list of suitable legal advisers to see the process through. It’s important to entrust the work to a firm that really understands the process and the issues that may arise.
The Family Law Company offers a holistic service in relation to adoption processes and is able to give advice and assistance throughout the adoption proceedings. When necessary include representation at Court.