27 Jun 2012
Adopted children and their families are being sold short when it comes to the provision of support services that could help ensure the success of more adoptions from care, according to a report published by national charity Adoption UK.
The report, entitled It takes a village to raise a child, is based on an Adoption UK survey of its membership. In the survey, respondents highlight the need for improved support across the system – from preparation to post-placement. Improving support services is also likely to encourage more people to consider adopting from care in the future – especially important at a time when the number of adopters is at an all-time low and current government work is focused on recruiting more adopters and placing more children from care.
National membership and support charity Adoption UK, has been supporting adoptive families before, during and after adoption for more than 40 years. It is the only national charity run by adoptive parents for adoptive families.
A total of 455 respondents, representing more than 700 children, from across the UK completed the online survey between October 2011 and January 2012.
Results indicated that at any one time, around half of adoptive families are in need of some sort of adoption support service but that accessing support services is difficult for many adopters. Many felt their agency did not provide the services that would most help their family and also believed that the lack of understanding among professionals – from social workers to school staff - around the needs of adopted children was a significant problem. Finance is also an issue with many families having to fund their own support services because local authorities are underfunded.
Around 4,000 children were adopted from the UK system in the year ending March 31, 2011; more than 70 per cent were removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect. Their early childhood experiences mean that adopted children may have challenging emotional, behavioural, or physical challenges.
The report is published at a time when the Government is focussed on improving the recruitment and assessment process for adoptive parents. An Adoption Action Plan was published in March outlining the Department of Education’s plans to improve the system. The Plan indicates proposals, in principle, to improve the adoption support system.
An expert working group, which includes Adoption UK Chief Executive Jonathan Pearce, has been assisting the Department of Education in its proposals and creation of the action plan. Adoption UK warns, however, that the planned improvements must go hand-in-hand with improvements to adoption support.
Jonathan Pearce, Adoption UK Chief Executive, said: “What adopters are saying they need is a process and system that better equips them for the joys and challenges of adoptive parenting.
“They need continuing education and training on child development and how this is affected by the trauma of abuse and neglect, attachment issues and how to be therapeutic parents to abused and neglected children.
“They also need joined-up, adoption-aware services across not just the social care sector, but also in education and mental health. When considering that they are taking on some of the most vulnerable children in our society, it seems senseless that they are not automatically supported.”
The full report can be found at www.adoptionuk.org.uk/ittakesavillage
For further information:
Erika Pennington, Adoption UK – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01295 752960
Out-of-Office Hours: 07500 968475
Notes for Editors:
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