Councils get £30m fund to speed up adoption searches

Money to be announced in budget will cover fees that ministers say discourage local authorities from searching Man and childoutside their borough for parents.

Children in local authority care who are waiting to find new parents are to be helped with a £30m package of support in Wednesday’s post-election budget.

The money will be used to pay fees that local authorities are charged by adoption agencies or other councils for finding, assessing and matching an adoptive parent and child.

Concerns were raised last year after the number of children being put forward for adoption nearly halved in 12 months. The new funds are intended to accelerate the adoption process.

A £27,000 fee is paid for an adoptive parent found from outside a local authority’s border either by another council or by one of 30 voluntary sector adoption agencies.

Ministers believe the fee acts as a disincentive to local authorities making a thorough search outside their borough for potential parents, particularly for children least likely to find a new home.

The government’s education and adoption bill will also include new powers to require local authorities to merge or outsource services to single regional agencies if they do not do so themselves within two years.

Osborne said: “We cannot sit by when so many children are waiting so long to find a stable, loving home, particularly when there are parents out there who want to adopt. It just isn’t good enough.

“It shouldn’t matter where those families might live. This funding will cover the fees that local authorities have to pay when families are found from other areas, and I hope will mean many more children are adopted more quickly.”

David Cameron has asked all relevant government departments to work together on a broad plan to improve and speed up the adoption process.

Officials point out that the number of children adopted increased from 3,200 in 2010 to 5,050 in 2013/14.
Source Guardian Online

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