A lot of hardworking, well-meaning people will probably feel aggrieved at the swinging criticism that has been levelled at the adoption system in the last few days, but the figures are truly terrible. The practices that have been allowed to evolve – through lack of proper attention – actually work against the system working efficiently.
There are two main problems. Firstly, local councils are judged not on how many adoptions they arrange, but on the number of successful outcomes they achieve. This has led to a mass of unhelpful distortions that leave thousands of children languishing in care, and people who want to adopt being put off by delays and the excessive thoroughness and political correctness of the process. Many couples who want to adopt a child are forced to go abroad to find a child to adopt. Crucially, children are left in care at the most formative time of their lives – probably the greatest sin of all.
Secondly, the fact that adoption is left to local councils with very little if any central direction, common standards or clear goals, means that the system has become dysfunctional. The adoption figures speak volumes.
The government says it means business when it comes to reforming the adoption process in Britain, but unless there is someone to drive through reform, progress is going to be very, very slow.
An ‘Adoption Tsar’ is what’s needed. Someone who can bash heads together, and simplify and speed up the system so that as many children as possible can get a decent home, caring parents and a proper chance in life. Not too much to ask, is it? Now let’s see some action.