Adoption: PM unveils 'foster to adopt' plan

baby Babies need a stable loving home as early as possible, ministers say

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New-born babies being taken into care should be fostered by people who want to adopt them, the prime minister has said.

David Cameron has said the law in England will be changed to encourage more councils to do this - so more babies can find a loving home earlier.

He says it is "shocking" that so many babies taken in to care at one month wait 15 months to be adopted.

The government has pledged to simplify and speed up the adoption process.

It wants babies to be placed with prospective adoptive parents before the courts have decided to remove them permanently from their natural parents.

This is already being done by some councils, such as Harrow, which is working with the Coram children's charity.

In some cases, there might be disappointment for those trying to adopt, because the courts might eventually decide to return the child to its natural parents.

Most often, children are moved from foster carers to adoptive parents once the courts have decided that the child should be adopted - a process that often takes more than a year.

On average, a child waits two years and seven months to be placed with an adoptive family.

Last year ministers highlighted figures which showed that of the 3,660 children under the age of one who were in care in England in 2010-11, only 60 were adopted.

Damaging disruption

David Cameron said: "Children's needs must be at the very heart of the adoption process - it's shocking that we have a system where 50% of one-month-old babies who come to the care system go on to be adopted but wait 15 months to be placed in a permanent, loving home.

"These new plans will see babies placed with approved adopters who will foster first, and help provide a stable home at a much earlier stage in a child's life. This way, we're trying our very best to avoid the disruption that can be so damaging to a child's development and so detrimental to their future well-being."

The legal change is supported by the government's adoption adviser Martin Narey, who said he had seen the "fostering for adoption" scheme work well in East Sussex.

People who wanted to adopt would be prepared to take the risks involved, he said, "because they know how important early stability is to a neglected child".

'Early permanence'

"This development is great news for adopters and even better news for neglected and abused children and infants."

Local councils say finding permanent families earlier can increase stability and reduce delays for some children, but that it is also vital to find more people willing to foster and adopt.

Debbie Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, said: "Some good local authorities are already taking steps to place children with families who will become adopters earlier in the child's journey to adoption.

"This process will not be right for all children or all adopters, but can offer the benefits of early permanence for some."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Cameron, you can't have a rent to buy scheme for babies. I know this may come as a shock to you but Property and People are two different things. Get real.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    I know politicians are unpopular, but fostering them to adopt is a step too far.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Maybe now Mr Cameron might seriously think about supporting adoptive parents financially. It's about time adoption leave pay was in line with maternity pay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    I think the heartbreak of having to give a child back may be problematic. A quicker process is much needed and rather than placing babies before a decision has been made, get the courts to act quicker also so that a child’s fate is not held in limbo for such a long time.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    @29 IKP the process DOES start whilst the mother is pregnant (if they're known to social services), I think these could be the ones that take least time!

    The legal side of things take a year or so to complete by law. Even once someone is approved for adoption there are still extra approvals needed when a given child is to be placed with them. DC needs to look at the LEGAL side of things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    All this sounds to good to be true, and I would say that many prospected adopting parents could be let down if the proceedures were rushed along too fast, as this bungling PM is doing to our country., he has meddled in far too much in a relative short time. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Caution - Caution - Caution. Lets not have heartbreak.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Has DC any experience of adoption, personal or professional? Maybe a good idea in theory, but practically...Imagine a child you give birth to and bond with is taken away from you...this isn't any different to what may happen if you foster to adopt. Knowing that it's a possibility doesn't change this. Some adoptions are 99% certain to proceed, others less so eg. if the baby is forcibly removed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Many potential adoptive parents I hope would love this even though there is a risk that it might not be permanent.

    This is best for the children involved and I doubt many people desperate to care for children would begrudge giving love and stability to a child even in the short term.

    Although this is a great idea I cannot believe something so obvious was not already in place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Why not drop the VAT on contraceptives to help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and therefore babies that are put up for adoption?

    Solve the problem at its source! Why are we paying tax on essential products such as condoms - it makes no sense!

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Colchie "Yet the new Housing Benefit rules state that you cannot claim Housing Benefit for a bedroom for a foster child. Is there any joined up thinking in this government?"

    they already get C £150 a week allowance + £50 - £200 additional depending on the child's needs. This calc already covers the housing costs. So no HB because that's paying HB twice.

    Obvious and simple really.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    this proposal is just common sense. Almost all proposed adoptions go through eventually. Most of the vetting of parents as suitable adopters happens well before they apply to adopt a particular child. The legal paperwork for a rubber stamp on the decision just takes a while. In the meantime the child is in care. This way they have a loving home while the paperwork gets sorted. Common sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    51 Spindoctor:
    Spoken with the confidence and authority of the truly ignorant.
    @ Spindoctor is correct.Cases against parents are heard with hearsay evidence permitted, no defence witnesses. Babies are snatched. Consider Durham Council's decision to remove a baby because the mother was a former member of the EDL and father in the armed forces. That is totalitarianism. China, USSR

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Quote "55. Anglerfish
    51 Spindoctor:

    Spoken with the confidence and authority of the truly ignorant."


    Spoken from experience of seeing children dragged off there mothers Breast on the pretence that it is best for the Child!

    Read the Website from Ian Joseph and then tell me it is LIES!

    Forced Adoption in this country is a disgrace!

    BBC removed the URL so google it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    This is a great way to ensure children don't get bounced around for years. KidsPeace knows how critical it is for children to feel secure in their homes:

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    To: Venedig (and others)
    Voting my comment down is not going to remove the army of teenage girls......

    I think you will find that the reason you keep getting your comments voted down is not necessarily what you are saying, but the rude and sarcastic way that you say it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    A desperate woman gives up her new-born child at the very time she is in the greatest emotional turmoil of her life - and there is every chance that she may never see it again!
    It's great to be British!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Absolute disgrace, the Social Services in the Country are nothing more than Child Snatchers akin to the Character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

    Do not believe the lies of this Government or the SS.

    This is the only country in the EU where kids are taken into care "For possible future harm" not actual harm or evidence, just the say so of a busy body!

    [Unsuitable URL removed by Moderator]


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