b) Information - i) Pre-adoption information

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

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One of the root causes of disruption in placement/adoption is a lack of information about the child's history.

Clause 57 proposes that information about a child's history should be disclosed as soon as practicable after the making of an adoption order i.e. long after the child has moved in and only once the child has become legally part of the new family.

It is our view that without sufficient information at the time of matching, it is very difficult for the prospective family to make an informed decision about whether they could or would want to become the child's parents. For example, a family may not feel it could deal with a child who had been sexually abused. If social services hold that information (such matters, of course, have not always been disclosed by the child), then that should be proffered when the adopters are contemplating taking that child on. They could decide whether to proceed and prepare themselves adequately for the task ahead.

Without that vital information the adoption could be put at risk because neither the adopters nor the child can understand each other's behaviour or reactions.

There are, of course, questions about the protection of the identity of the child but that information could be withheld until later on, perhaps at the time of placement, so that there was no risk of information being misused.

Clause 57 (1) should read: ``At the time of matching, the appropriate agency. . . .'' etc.