Plans underway for a faster, safer adoption service

Gwenda Thomas meets the Jones family

Plans underway for a faster, safer adoption service

The Jones family have three children, two of whom are adopted. The Deputy Minister heard about how the adoption process changed their lives, and also talked to representatives from the adoption agency St David’s Children’s Society.

The Deputy Minister said:

“We can learn a lot from families who have already undertaken this journey, that is why we will commission research into the experiences they faced to identify barriers and their perceived reasons for delays in the adoption process.

“Any delay to a child’s case can be detrimental to their prospects for adoption and we are looking at all possible ways to help a child settle with their adoptive family sooner.

“The new national adoption service will work with existing agencies, in ensuring that children languishing in care, where adoption is in their best interests are not left one more day than is necessary.

“I want to eliminate waiting lists for prospective adopters, who routinely face delays for training and assessment, improve the matching process, allay adoption breakdown by a comprehensive adoption support service and streamline the adoption process.

“The best way to achieve this is through the establishment of a national adoption framework that operates on an all Wales basis.”

St David’s hails Minister’s announcement as a major step for children and adoptive families in Wales

“The announcement today by Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, AM, will transform the chances of children finding loving, permanent homes in adoptive families in Wales”, said Gerry Cooney, Chief Executive at St David’s Children Society.

“We fully support plans for a national adoption service. It could be the single, greatest vehicle to improve life chances for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. It will place Wales at the vanguard of adoption services in the UK and at the same time will deliver significant savings to child care budgets.”

The Minister made her announcement during her visit to the Jones family, a South Wales family who adopted two children via St. David’s Children Society.  She said: “I am proud today to say that Wales will move forward with plans to set up a national adoption service. We are determined to reduce delays for children who are being looked after, and to ensure all those who wish to adopt will find the best support to encourage them to come forward. This is a defining moment for adoption services and our intention is that Wales will become a beacon for others, but most of all, that our children will find permanence in loving families as soon as is practicably possible.”

The adoptive family’s evident joy is a spur to everyone engaged in securing permanent families for children in Wales.

Mr Cooney continued “The Minister’s announcement will change the face of adoption services if the opportunity is seized by all the parties involved, courts, local authorities and the voluntary sector. All of us recognise that delay has a very significant and negative effect on children. We believe that this initiative will be a major factor in eradicating the corrosive effect of delay in children’s lives.”

Speaking about the services St David’s offers, he added. “We recognise the deep desire of couples to be parents. We understand that support for them starts the very second they pick up the phone to us and can continue throughout the lifetime of the family. St. David’s has seen a significant increase in the number of potential adopters coming forward and encourages more families to contact their local authority or St. David’s to exploreadoption as a means of creating a family.”

“The national adoption service is a bold move from the Minister and heralds an exciting change. We will do everything in our power to help our local authority partners and all others involved, to make this a success for every child. ”