Adopters Together have five questions for Robert Goodwill MP

  1. So many adopters report that they were blamed by Social Care when they sought help. Help seeking needs to be safe. How can help seeking parents and vulnerable children be better protected from blame and discrediting?
  2. Why should adopted children have to re-enter care to access services and support that are needed, including respite? How can adopted children access the same level of services and support as children who are looked after?
  3. Can Section 20 be reviewed? This 30 year old legislation was not designed for adoption, and is problematic for adoptive families as it potentially re traumatises and destabilises an adopted child to re enter care. Once in care, under Section 20 there is no differentiation made in the care system between a child in care for reasons of abuse and neglect and an adopted child re entering care. Refusing Section 20, because it seems too drastic as a means to access respite, means support that is needed may not be given and the crisis may deepen.
  4. How can the relationship between parent and child be supported throughout the adoption journey and especially when a child must re-enter care? Why does the Adoption Support Fund not provide help for these families? Parents who were rigorously assessed can find their parenting capacity and fitness to parent called into question – instead of the help that is really needed to support the family at a difficult time of separation. Loaded terminology like ‘disruption’ and ‘breakdown’ is used, which can deter effort being made to support the child in the context of their adoptive family and ‘intervention’ can come between parent and child.
  5. How can the interests of adoptive children and families be better safeguarded by legislation? The threshold of ‘beyond parental control’ is itself a symptom of childhood and early life trauma, and therefore problematic for adoptive families who risk losing their children to care? Permanence is potentially threatened.