To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward plans to improve access to intermediary services for adopted children seeking to contact their biological relatives.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the process by which adoptees access intermediary services for contact with biological relatives.
We do not have any plans to improve intermediary services for adopted children or adoptees as there is a clear legislation framework in place. Under Section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act (2002) (England and Wales), an adopted person over the age of 18, as well as birth relatives of an adopted adult, now have the legal right to ask an adoption agency or adoption support agency that has registered as an intermediary agency to provide a service to let the adopted relative or birth relative know of their wish for communication. The agency can then seek information from a range of sources to identify and trace the adopted person. This new law came into effect from 30 December 2005. Priority will be given to cases where the adoption order was made on or before 12 November 1975.
Any agency that provides an intermediary service must do so in accordance with the Intermediary Services Regulations (2005). The regulations require the intermediary agency to have regard to the welfare of the applicant, the subject of the application, and any other person who may be identified or otherwise affected by the application.
Ofsted inspect adoption agencies who provide intermediary and birth records counselling to ensure it is well organised and accessible and that adopted adults and birth relatives are appropriately supported to understand their experiences. Where poor performance is found Ofsted set out how services should be improved.