Interview with Adoption UK

Published on Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:10
Written by Hugh Thornbery

Today interviewed Hugh Thornbery from Adoption UK. Hugh had some useful insight into the world of adoption, the bureaucracy that surrounds it and how the system could be improved. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions and comments.

GT: The coalition have said adoption is one of their biggest priorities, have adoption rates increased at all?

ADOPTION UK:  Yes we have seen a significant increase from just over 3,000 to 4,000 last year

Ins_foundations: We keep hearing about changes in attitude to prospective adopters - when will this happen?

ADOPTION UK:  I think there is a big change, our work in the National Adoption Gateway is an important first step

Wonkywarrior: The attitude change is not about targets, it's a change of heart

ADOPTION UK: You can change behaviour by targets, you can hope that hearts and minds change as well

Wonkywarrior: That's true, but whole idea of "stealing poor babies giving them to middle class parent" awful prejudice in lots of social workers.

ADOPTION UK: It's important we support families who are struggling AND take into care those that are not safe

Ins_foundations: A recent visit to panel for us was horrendous. It should NOT be like this.

ADOPTION UK:  Quite agree, bad practice must be challenged

GT:  Major barrier to collaboration between la's and adopter recruitment is the inter-authority fee, is this being addressed?

ADOPTION UK:  Yes, the fee is changing - big progress, level playing field will encourage LAs to recruit more than their own needs

GT:  422 hours of social worker time is spent per adoption placement, how can we make adoption quicker and easier?

ADOPTION UK: There will be a streamlined assessment process with pre self assessment but still needs to be robust.

‏Mumdrah: Involve more first-hand experience via adoptive parents as mentors/ trainers.

ADOPTION UK: Agree which is of course the whole focus of adoption uk proud the National Adoption Gateway uses adopters.

Ins_foundations: Most adopters are scared to complain about their agency - how can this be addressed.

ADOPTION UK: Agencies have complaints processes or you can use Ofsted they are there to be used, don't use them nothing...

GT: The gov may order councils to outsource adoption services if they take too long conducting an adoption, why?

ADOPTION UK: The Govt are taking that power in the Bill, it's there as last resort if nationally not enough changes fast enough

Mumdrah: Prospective adopters feel they are passing a test; this puts a shadow over the honesty of whole process.

ADOPTION UK: There should be and is an assessment, I think that is different to test.

Mumdrah: I am curious how anyone can self assess for an experience that is totally off the map! Adoption is a challenge like no other.

GT: Is it right for adoption agencies to discriminate against gay people who try to adopt?


GT: What punishment should those agencies that discriminate face?

ADOPTION UK: Complaints and legal processes will decide this not for me to determine punishment

GT: How would personal budgets for adopters work?

ADOPTION UK: That is in early planning stage, met @educationgovuk yesterday to start the discussion on this a good thing I think

GT: Should we incentivise adoption, reduce council tax, increase benefits???

ADOPTION UK: Interesting point! I think provide same benefits as for birth parents and DUTY to provide the right level of support

GT: Surely benefits at birth is the same as adopting a 2 month old child, so surely changing rules would help?

ADOPTION UK: Yes rule changes - they are planned but we think have to wait too long before changes come in and the self-employed are not getting a fair deal in this, have raised with the Minister

GT: How can we encourage more people to adopt, is there a stigma attached?

ADOPTION UK: There are myths and realities that can put people off, it's about removing the former and explaining the latter

Mumdrah: The main obstacle is the scrutiny of assessment. The emphasis should be on preparation and training!

ADOPTION UK: I think you are right, a strengths based approach with support and preparation

GT: How are adopters assessed and what is the timeframe between interest and adoption?

ADOPTION UK: Should be 6-8 months, in some cases longer now, self assessment, SW assessment, medical, references, CRB etc

‏Ins_foundations: For us 2 1/2 years to approval and one year to be matched with our new child (we already have 2 adopted children)

ADOPTION UK: Don't know your case but this looks to be way too long

Thanks Hugh! For more Twitter interviews follow us: @govtoday. For more info on Adoption UK click here.

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