3.1 Post Adoption Support

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at on 21 November 2001.

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3.1.1 The Recognition in the Bill that adoption is a life-long commitment reflects the reality of good, loving and caring parenthood. This part of the Bill also recognises that many of the children being adopted today often come to adoption with deep emotional scars, which are only healed, if ever, over time and with much pain and struggle on the part of the adopters.

3.1.2 The above makes it right that local authorities should be under a duty to provide support services. However, we are concerned that the Bill, as it stands, makes a distinction between the right of an assessment and the provision of services that are highlighted as a result of that assessment. It is our invariable experience that when adopters seek help they know they need it. Adopters do not come forward for help on a whim. They often struggle long and hard before coming for help. They need to know with some degree of certainty that such help will be available. Moreover, we need to create a situation where adopters feel able to come forward at an early stage of the problem, rather than later, when the situation may be that much more difficult to alleviate.

3.1.3 The Society runs two specialist centres offering families from all backgrounds help through the medium of family and child psychotherapy. They have both developed a sub specialism in working with families who have adopted. The intervention is often very helpful. It has though proved most difficult to extract funding from local authorities for these services. Regulations, which flow from the legislation need to make it possible for funding in these circumstances to be made available.

3.1.4 The duty to provide services should apply equally to Health and Education authorities, as well as local authority social services departments.

3.1.5 The regulations need to make responsibilities particularly clear when the care authority for the child is different from the authority in which the adopters live. It is obviously not helpful to a child if a service provided within the care authority is discontinued because the authority where the adopters live is unable to carry on that service.

3.1.6 Any legislation dealing with support needs to make it clear that this is available to children adopted now, as well as those adopted after the legislation is implemented.