Chapter 2

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

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3.4 We think this clause needs strengthening by regulation to make it mandatory for care (local)authorities to provide multi-disciplinary assessments and plans (directly or indirectly)to ensure that placements out of area follow a multi-agency approach for an individual child through their childhood.

3.4. Voluntary adoption agencies need funding from placement authorities in order to offer post adoption support to children placed withtheir approved adopters. Voluntary societies are unable to fund this support (over and above the first year support included in the inter-agency fee). We believe that placement authorities should have a responsibility to fund required support to an adopted child and their family throughout the individual's childhood.

4.2. We believe this clause needs strengthening and that a local authority ``should'' rather than ``may'' . . . carry out an assessment for post adoption support services

10.2 and 10.3. We welcome the principle of performance standards by registration of social care staff and Managers of services. There is a cost to this, which is a challenge to voluntary adoption agencies, which currently have to access training monies through local authorities.

11 Inter-agency fees. Voluntary adoption agencies are traditionally a resource for adopters. Adopters like to be assessed by voluntary societies. This means that voluntary agencies are dependent on interagency placement fees for the costs of their assessment and immediate support activities. Local authorities that have realistic ring-fenced budgets for inter-agency placements offer a speedier service to children through the planning process than those where special approval has to be made for inter-agency placement. In order to meet performance targets to increase placements without delay, we suggest that placement authorities will need to have more flexible budgeting procedures. This will maximise placement choice for children.

12 Independent Review Body. We welcome transparency in the adoption process and support any activity that gives clear information to all involved. Because adoption deals with grief and loss for all parties, it is natural that disappointed people would wish to appeal against decisions made by agencies and panels. We support the notion of independent review and recommend that a well-regulated independent co-ordinating body be established that will draw on expertise from the voluntary and statutory sectors to undertake review. We believe that to maintain its independence, it should be funded directly by Government. The use of independent review is a resource challenge to voluntary agencies both in direct costs and staff time.