Welfare cuts adding to adoption numbers, says report

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The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has published a comprehensive report into the state of adoption following a two-year inquiry.

The report looked into more than 300 stakeholders, including social workers, birth families, legal professionals, adoptive parents and adults who were adopted as children.

The number of children adopted last year fell from 70,450 to 72,670, but the number of children who need a forever home still outnumber those providing one.

Recent rulings have indicated that councils should only place children for adoption where there was “no other alternative”, which charities say have caused confusion among social services.

Last year, chief executive of Charity Adoption UK, Sue Armstrong Brown, said: “This autumn the number of children needing an adoptive home may outnumber those coming forward to provide that home. Clearly, we need to do more to recruit potential adopters, whilst retaining the rigorous assessment that’s part of that process.”

The BASW looked into all areas of the adoption process and detailed how it could be improved to suit all stakeholders, particularly struggling families and prospective adoptive parents.

Among its findings, it highlighted on austerity, specifically in regards to cuts to legal aid and welfare, as adding to the “considerable adversities” faced by many families struggling to maintain the wellbeing of their family. This adds to the overall number of children placed into care, the BASW says.

It also looks at policy, human rights, the importance of social workers, and support for adoptive parents.

Ruth Allen, the chief executive of BASW, said: “Adoption can be highly successful, providing children with stable, loving homes and adoptive parents with the experience of creating the family they want.  Birth families may consent to adoption and recognise the value to their biological child.

“However, the Enquiry explores the complex realities of adoption for many people, particularly in non-consensual adoption, with mixed outcomes and experiences for all involved which raise.”

The full report can be found here.

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