Adoption

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th July 2022.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings included in Adoption UK’s Barometer Report, published in June, which found that 85 per cent of the adopters surveyed said their adoption agency does not regularly review their child’s contact arrangements with birth relatives; and what plans they have to make such reviews mandatory.

Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings included in Adoption UK’s Barometer Report, published in June, which showed that only (1) 12 per cent of adopters surveyed were offered advice and training on establishing contact with birth family relatives of their adopted child, and (2) 17 per cent of adopted adults surveyed reported being given any professional support prior to establishing contact with their own birth family in childhood; and what steps they plan to take in response.

Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Adoption UK’s Barometer Report, published in June, what steps they are taking to measure the impact of a lack of support for adopted people and their families when establishing birth family contact.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Local authorities have a legal duty to provide a comprehensive adoption service. This specifically includes 'Assistance, including mediation services, in relation to arrangements for contact between an adoptive child and a natural parent, natural sibling, former guardian or a related person of the adoptive child', as set out in Adoption Support Services Regulations 2005. It be found at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/691/part/2/made?view=plain. Contact arrangements should be reviewed regularly, and families should be supported with the contact arrangements before, during and after the adoption.

As set out in our 'Adoption Strategy: achieving excellence everywhere', the department is working with Regional Adoption Agencies (RAAs) to develop and trial what good practice around contact looks like, with a view to setting national standards in this area. This includes investigating what support is needed for children, birth parents, and adoptive parents. RAAs are also currently trialling a new programme called ‘Letterswap', a new digital platform to improve the current ‘Letterbox’ system. The published adoption strategy is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adoption-strategy-achieving-excellence-everywhere.

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