Clause 4 A new duty to assess for and provide adoption support services

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 20 November 2001.

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The bill sets out a right for all adoptive families to be assessed for adoption support. We are pleased that the earlier Bill has been amended to recognise the need for pre as well as post adoption support. Adopters know what they want and expect support and joined up services, not just an assessment. All social services authorities will be expected to provide support, including financial support, planned jointly with local education authorities and the NHS. The duty to review the child's plan and provide post adoption services continues after the child reaches 18 years. There will also be demand for LAs to give financial and other support for children who are and who have been the subject of the new special guardianship orders (Clause 94). Adoption support services are defined at clause 2 (6) as (a) counselling, advice and information in connection with adoption and (b) such other services as are specified in regulations (which may include financial support). There should be a direct reference to adoption allowances. Support is vital in promoting successful placements and preventing adoption breakdown and should encourage more potential adopters. However, the LGA is keen to ensure that there is adequate additional funding, particularly for adoption allowances.