E-cigarette user stopped from adopting 25 Feb 2015

Naomi Angell, head of the Osbornes adoption team, was interviewed by Clive Bull of LBC on 22 February on a feature in that day’s Mail on Sunday. A family’s adoption assessment had been suspended by their local authority because one of the prospective adopters was an e-cigarette smoker and the local authority had a policy against approving prospective adopters who used e-cigarettes.

Naomi was surprised that a family should be turned down for adoption if this was the only concern as there is no clear data that e-cigarettes cause harm to the health of others living in the household. Also the other reported local authority concern that seeing a parent smoking an e-cigarette could encourage a child to start smoking themselves, seemed highly questionable.

Naomi explained that an adoption assessment is a risk assessment of a family’s suitability to meet the needs and often the challenges of children in care needing adoptive homes but should be evidence based and reasonable. If an adoption panel and the adoption agency were to make a decision which a family considered unreasonable they could apply to the Independent review Mechanism (IRM), a national body , independent of adoption agencies, to conduct a complete review of the decision.

Naomi said that she was aware from many of her clients that a good assessment process where there is a positive relationship between the prospective adopters and their social worker is usually seen by prospective adopters as a valuable opportunity to explore parenting issues and values, which many birth parents would welcome, in thinking about having their own children.

If you would like to speak with Naomi or her team about adoption and the assessment process you can contact us by calling 020 7485 8811 you can also fill in our online enquiry form.

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