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Court delays keep children waiting for adoption

A report published by Ofsted found that the most significant cause of delay for children needing adoption is the length of time it takes for cases to be completed in court. The average time taken to complete care proceedings in the cases inspectors examined was almost 14 months.

 

The report also found that although there were some delays caused by issues such as a lack of suitable adopters or weak planning, these were generally not as significant as those caused earlier by delays in initiating and concluding care proceedings.

Deputy Chief Inspector, John Goldup said:

'Decisions to place children for adoption are not easy. They are life-changing decisions that social workers and the judiciary have to make. However, the focus must always be on the child and what is best for that child. Part of that is looking at how we can minimise delays wherever possible when adoption is the right decision.

'Our report highlights a range of key issues that local authorities need to address. Much of this needs to be done in partnership with the judiciary and Cafcass, the court welfare service. It urges the Government to act with urgency to implement the recommendations of the Family Justice Review which will tackle some of the root causes of delay in the system.'

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