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

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While we are pleased that adoption legislation is being brought up to date, thorough assessment will be need to be made of the funding requirements of the new adoption allowances, long-term and specialist support, additional support for new parents and birth families, recruitment and training of additional adoption workers and improved services and standards. There are over 4,000 adoptions a year nationally, including stepparent. Adoption services, especially adoption support, have been underfunded. The necessary investment was not made with the Adoption Act 1976 or the Children Act 1989. Implementation of the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999 should also be funded. It is very disappointing that the Government announced £66.5m over three years to secure sustained improvements in adoption services is not new money but had already been announced as part of the Quality Protects programme. Most authorities had already allocated the Quality Protects children's services special grant. New targets and standards should be realistic and achievable and be matched with resources. There are new duties in this Bill which must be funded with new money in additional to any hypothetical amounts in the Quality Protects programme.