Hounslow 'Must Speed Up' Adoption Process

MP Mary Macleod says Council needs to place children faster


Mary Macleod MP

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Hounslow Council's record in placing children with adoptive parents is slower than the national average and that of neighbouring borough Ealing.

At the start of National Adoption week, the latest figures from the Department of Education show that the borough experienced considerable delays placing children in an adoptive home despite an adoption decision being made.
Over one-third of children ( 34%) in the borough were still being looked after for more than a year after the adoption order, compared to the national average of 26%. The figure for Ealing Borough is 16%.

The MP for Brentford and Isleworth, Mary Macleod has challenged the local authority to do better for children in their care.

“The figures released today certainly raise concerns about the speed with which local authorities deal with adoption cases. Whilst the London Borough of Hounslow performs comparatively well on the number of children adopted, there is still much more to be done in speeding up the process once an adoption decision had been reached.

“I would encourage our local authority to draw on the experiences and practices of neighbouring boroughs where children are placed more quickly with adoptive parents."

The latest statistics show that London Boroughs are among the worst in the country for adoption. More than 10,000 children in the capital are living in care and only 390 were adopted over the past year- the lowest figure in five years. Hackney has the worst record, putting only 43 per cent of children with adoptive parents within 12 months of deciding to do so.

The Prime Minister David Cameron has promised radical reform of the system. A Green Paper will set out the minimum proportion of children that should be adopted each year and will also impose time limits. Any council that fails to meet the standards will be ordered to contract out its adoption service to a more successful local authority or charity.

Among the poor performers in London are the boroughs of Brent, which placed just over half of children in care in permanent homes, and Hillingdon, which has housed less than 60 per cent with families within a year.

According to the figures released by the Department for Education, a third of London boroughs are among the 20 worst performing councils in England. Waltham Forest, Bromley and Haringey came out worst.

At the end of March there were 10,390 in care in London. Across the country there were 65,520, a two per cent rise on the year before. Of those, only 3,050 were adopted, a decrease of 20 per cent from 2005.

Only four per cent of children adopted last year were from black and Asian backgrounds.

The strategic director of children's services at Action for Children Hugh Thornbery said: "With the number of children in the care system at an all-time high, our need for adopters is greater than ever before. More can be done to make sure vulnerable children who need to be adopted are placed with families".

November 3, 2011