General Comments on the Bill

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

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The Fostering Network is anxious to ensure that fostering continues to be considered as a positive option for children. There will remain children for whom adoption is not the right solution, and who will need the continuing support services provided by local authorities, throughout their childhood.

Long term fostering is a positive option for children who have strong allegiances with their own families, but whose families are unable to provide them with appropriate care throughout their childhood. For some of these children special guardianship will be a viable option. However, for some children there will still need to be a third party involved as a negotiator when difficulties arise. Whilst families may not want their child adopted, and may therefore prefer long term fostering, the fact that they are unable to look after the children themselves will inevitably lead to frustrations, which at times will be focussed on the children's carers. At such times, having a local authority social worker to help mediate can ease tension.

Equally, some children will need services that can best be provided through the intervention of a local authority. Many adopters have suffered in the past because they have not been able to access appropriate services for their children. A child who remains in a long term fostering situation, should ideally, be best placed to have their needs met for services.