5 Jul 2011
In response to the report published in today's Times, Adoption UK's Chief Executive, Jonathan Pearce, has made the following comment:
Adoption UK’s Chief Executive Jonathan Pearce said:
“Martin Narey’s report is important and timely. It rightly addresses many of the key issues in contemporary adoption. In particular, the emphasis on early intervention into the lives of children living in abusive and neglectful families, and pursuing care and adoption as a positive plan, is vital to improving the lives of children and their future families.
While Adoption UK as a national membership and support charity for adopters supports much of the analysis and many of the recommendations, what is clearly missing is the input of adoptive parents and families, and the importance of adoption support services to them. This oversight downplays the reality of adoption for many families, who – irrespective of the age at which children are placed with them – can struggle on a daily basis to parent their children, many of whom display significant and challenging emotional, behavioural and developmental difficulties stemming directly from their early experiences of abuse and neglect. These struggles include difficulties in accessing appropriate support services, not only from social services but just as importantly from therapeutic, mental health and educational support services.
We believe serious consideration should be given to a national adoption agency, or at least a consistent national approach to adoption, especially if there is a strong focus on the recruitment and preparation of adopters and on adoption support. Adopters and the parenting relationship they have with their children are key to the success of adoption, and without such a focus, plans to place more children for adoption are unlikely to succeed in recruiting more prospective adopters.
It is right to concentrate on intervening earlier in children’s lives and speeding up the care and adoption system, but this will not reduce the need for adoption support. As the report indicates, many children are taken into care from families with major alcohol and drug misuse issues, which includes children being harmed in utero and leading to a future diagnosis of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Currently, such children are removed at or shortly after birth, and while even earlier intervention and placement will be beneficial, it will not remove such a diagnosis, or the need for longer-term support of adoptive families.
This is but one example of the sorts of issues experience by adoptive families, and that in some cases lead to adoption disruptions or breakdowns. We agree with Martin Narey’s observations that breakdown figures should not be seen as a sign of failure; rather Adoption UK would argue that they are a major sign of the support needs of all adoptive families, and more should be done to collect reliable data on the levels and causes of adoption breakdowns.”
For further information:
Erika Pennington, Adoption UK – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01295 752960.
Notes for Editors:
Tel: 01295 752240. Helpline: 0844 848 7900.
National Offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A downloadable version of this press release can now be found on the Current Press Releases page.