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Adoption in practice: dogma and disarray?

Date:28 DEC 2012

Edward Lloyd-Jones

Barrister 14 Gray's Inn Square:

The government wishes to increase the number of children adopted from care and in pursuit of this  outcome to speed up the progress of care proceedings through the courts. More children it is said 'deserve permanency'. But are enough prospective adopters available and is sufficient support in place particularly in relation to older children with challenging behaviour or special needs?

Are there dangers that in pursuing a dash for adoption we neglect to take sufficient account of each child's particular needs and existing relationships including with siblings?

The government's legislative proposals include reducing the scope of public law proceedings in relation to their length use of experts and consideration of care plans. The 'modernisation' of  court structures and procedure will place greater emphasis on 'compliance' with process and the use of a central corpus of 'good practice' materials. Is such reductionism compatible with the objective of providing the most suitable outcome for children often with complex backgrounds and needs?


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