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Adoption targets: the good, the bad and the ugly

Date:15 APR 2016
The below article appears in the February issue of Family Law at [2016] Fam Law 148 and has been made available free of charge as a service to our readers.

On 14 January 2016 the Department of Education announced a 'fundamental change to the law' that would ensure that 'courts and councils always pursue adoption when it is in a child's interests'. While the form or content of this legal change remains unclear the motivation behind it is not. In the press release the government specifically highlighted the dramatically falling number of adoption orders made in the past 2 years and built on David Cameron's commitment in November 2015 to 'increase the number of children adopted and speed up the [adoption] process'.

Increasing adoption rates has long been a pre-occupation of UK Parliament and successive governments have pushed adoption as the preferred solution for looked-after children. Following 30 years of declining adoption rates the Labour government in 2000 outlined a plan to promote the wider use of adoption for looked-after children with the target of increasing adoption by 40-50% by 2004/2005. Subsequently when David Cameron came to...

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