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Adoption targets will lead to rushed assessments

The imposition of six month targets for placing children in care for adoption will lead to rushed and inadequate assessments, potentially making the process too fast for would-be adopters and open to abuse by predatory child abusers.

This was the message to MPs at the second evidence gathering session of an inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Social Work into the state of the profession.

Judith Acreman, a team manager for a large county council and an adoptive parent herself, told the MP-led inquiry:

“One of most important things is we must never forget is that the child is the customer, not the adult adopters. Adoption in this country is a service for children in care, the most damaged and abused children in our society – to find them new homes to help them rebuild their lives; it’s not a service to find children for childless couples.

“Within current government polices there is a spoken acknowledgement of that – they say proposed change is to improve timescales and chances for the children – but, very quickly, the debate becomes about the experience of the adopters – and though of course they are related and impact on one another they are not necessarily the same thing.

“We are seeking families for children not children for parents, and the children’s needs must come first, always, which may sometimes mean adopters needs take second place if they are different.”

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