What next for the adoption register and hard-to-place children?

Concerns have been raised by a cross-party committee of Lords about the future of England’s adoption register which the Department of Education (DoE) is to replace.

The DoE is seeking to replace England’s national Adoption Register with another national system which will increase the number of matches between children and potential adopters. However, there are concerns around the fact that the Adoption Register has already been suspended as of the end of March, with no replacement having yet been implemented – potentially leaving a void for hard-to-place children.

The DoE has accepted that the new system “could require investment”.

The Children’s Homes etc. Inspection Fees, Childcare Fees, Adoption and Children Act Register (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/835) came into effect on 1 May 2019. Under the Regulations, the duty on adoption agencies to provide information for the Adoption Register about children approved for adoption and approved prospective adopters who have not been matched is revoked. This means, until a replacement is in place, there is no statutory entitlement for children to be registered nationally.

On 14 May, the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee held an oral evidence session with Nadhim Zahawi MP, the children’s minister, and the Committee’s report has now been published.

Concerns
The Committee expressed major concerns about the potential implications of the DoE’s suspension of the Adoption Register for England before a replacement system is ready - and with no clear timetable for when it will be ready. It also has serious concerns about any potential impact on service provision in relation to those children who are harder to match with prospective adopters.

As to the concerns around whether this will leave a gap in provision, the DoE has said in its Explanatory Memorandum that it would not; and “that whilst there is currently no statutory provision, there will continue to be commercial systems available that are well established and more popular than the statutory Adoption Register”.

Why had the DoE had not completed its consideration of future provision before the present contract ended? Its response was that: “The Department has been considering possible future provision over a long period, exploring a variety of options. Given the potential synergy between fostering and adoption … it was important that the two could be considered together. This consideration commenced in Autumn 2018. Contractually, the Department had already extended the Adoption Register contract for the maximum permitted period, to allow time to explore options for the fostering and adoption sectors. As the other commercial systems in the market are operating effectively, there will not be a gap in provision for adoption agencies.” During the evidence session, assurance was given that the safeguards and governance provisions that operated with the statutory register are no less robust for the commercial provider.

The Committee appears particularly concerned that the DoE cannot offer a timetable for when the future provision in relation to an adoption register may be implemented, particularly as the statutory Adoption Register has already ceased operating.

At the evidence session, the minister addressed concerns about harder-to-adopt children (for which the national adoption register was being used primarily). He said:

“You are right to ask about the children who are the hardest to adopt. The voluntary adoption agencies and the voluntary sector play a significant role in that area, and I am encouraging them more and more to work with the regional adoption agency infrastructure we have put together. Most matches for difficult-to-place children need much greater expertise, effort and capacity building, and that is delivered by the voluntary sector and the voluntary adoption agencies, which I meet regularly. The element of the work that is about those events is carrying on.”

However, the Committee says it is still unclear about the DoE’s plans, and the timetable and budget for the replacement service. It also remains concerned by some of the potential implications of the existing void – particularly the impact on provision for those children who may be more difficult to place.

The full report can be found here.

 

 

Back to the SOLICITORS group News

Media Centre

“The Solicitors Group online directory is an established and respected channel for legal professionals, meaning I can talk to my existing and future customers about products and services both quickly and easily.”

Carole Hatton
Marketing Manager
Landmark Information Group

“Reaching our niche market can sometimes be challenging, however we find promoting our legal training courses on www.thesolicitorsgroup.co.uk an excellent way of contacting both existing and new customers. The service we receive from The Solicitors Group is both professional and relevant to our core activities and we would recommend their services to others.”

Euromoney

“I must say that to date we have been very pleased with the referrals we are getting from your site.”

Paul West
Orchid Cellmark

“The Newsdesk feature on www.thesolicitorsgroup.co.uk is ideal for us. Its prominent location on the site provides a great platform to communicate key messages to existing and potential clients.”

Neil Phillips
Marketing Manager
Countrywide Legal Indemnities

"We are very happy with the referrals we are getting from The Solicitors Group web-site."

C.A. Bishop
Technical Director
Wickham Laboratories Ltd

“We received 419 click-throughs to our site from advertising with www.thesolicitorsgroup.co.uk”

Legal Prospects

“Putting myself in my potential client's shoes, I consider www.thesolicitorsgroup.co.uk to offer perhaps the clearest and most user-friendly listing of expert witnesses, especially in its choice of index terms.”

Ivan Vince
ASK Consultants

“The banner ad looks great”

Samantha Dawson
Director
The Bundle Business Limited

“The Solicitors Group has been fantastic in helping us to raise awareness about bowel cancer, which kills 16,000 people every year in the UK. Bowel Cancer UK aims to save lives by raising awareness of bowel cancer, campaigning for best treatment and care and providing practical support and advice. Without the support of organisations such as the Solicitors Group we would be unable to carry out this vital work. We are very grateful to the team at the Solicitors Group for their support and assistance.”

Tamara Matthews
Legacy Officer
Bowel Cancer UK

“As a result of Law London, we have registered 208 new companies/firms to the website, generating £20,797 GWP to date, as well as reinforcing our presence in this very profitable marketplace.”

Aviva

“The event was well put together and executed, and the traffic of potential customers for us was high. We had a number of enquiries regarding our services after the event and we feel our attendance there was important to our overall brand exposure. We feel a Law event of this size without Euromoney Legal Training present could potentially be hurtful to us as a business. We would recommend you to attend and shall ourselves be there again in 2008.”

Euromoney

“Many thanks for the prompt service.”

Martin Gibbs MBE
Director / Investigator
Griffin Forensics Ltd

“A targeted email to key customers is an invaluable method of communication, endorse this with the Solicitors Group branding, relevant editorial content and you have created a winning combination! We look forward to reading the next edition.”

Carole Hatton
Marketing Manager
Landmark Information Group

“Talking directly to Property Lawyers is critical to us as they are key customers or potentially could be for all of our products, The Solicitors Group offer a perfect solution to get our messages right to the right people”

Carole Hatton
Marketing Manager
Landmark Information Group

“Thank you for having a useful and informative site, it is good to see a comprehensive and friendly portal.”

Stefan Fann
UK Probate Services

“Cadogans aims to keep its brand image in front of lawyers who may be looking for engineering experts. A check on Google analytics showed that referrals to our website from The Solicitors Group website were above average.”

Daphne Wassermann
Technical Director
Cadogans