New measures to speed up the adoption process have been announced by David Cameron this week, in a bid to end the wait that hundreds of children face when hoping to be placed with a permanent family.
As part of the new rules, local councils will have to follow tougher guidelines regarding special guardianship orders, in order to ensure that no child is placed with a distant relative if adoption elsewhere is more suitable.
For an existing family member that wants to become a child’s guardian, if that child has suffered abuse or neglect, social workers will have to get satisfactory evidence to prove that they are well-known to the child and have an existing bond before the placement can be considered.
Relatives must also be able to provide care for a child from when they become the legal guardian up until the child turns 18 years old.
Over the course of the last 12 months, 780 children were put up for adoption and only about 10 per cent were placed with their adoptive families before the completion of legal proceedings.
However, the Government has ordered councils to double this number, so more children can enjoy the benefits of their new family unit as soon as possible.
The expectation is that councils will also become more efficient at making earlier placements, because they will be required to report on the number of children they place with adoptive families before adoptions are legally finalised.