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Will a national adoption agency solve Britain’s adoption crisis?

Solicitors in London

Will a national adoption agency solve Britain’s adoption crisis?

News article published on: 20th June 2012

The Government certainly think so. As a result David Cameron has announced new plans to make a fairer, faster adoption process – including moves to make it easier for white couples to adopt black children.

The prime minister said there was “no more urgent task” for the government and promised to legislate to force councils to speed up the process”

Guidelines were published almost one year ago directing local authorities to focus on all of the needs of the child and not just race and ethnicity. However, this new announcement with the promise of primary legislation goes further and indicates that the published guidelines failed or at least failed to make an impact on local authority processes.

David Cameron said it was shocking that black children waited on average twice as their white counterparts to be adopted. Cameron pledged that his government would “tear down the barriers that stop good, caring potential adoptive parents from giving a home to children who so desperately need one”.

Martin Narey, the government advisor on adoption and speaker at Osbornes adoption debate in October 2011 said he was “delighted with the urgency” being shown by the government. He continued that the “announcement today will secure the earlier and more successful adoption of many thousands of children whose lives will be transformed. Local authorities will be asked to make concurrent planning more widespread so that children are fostered by their prospective adoptive parents as long as it is in the child’s best interests”.

In brief the government says the changes will speed up the system by:

  • Requiring local authorities to reduce delays and not delay adoptions looking for the “perfect match”,
  • Legal changes making it easier for children to be fostered by people approved for adoption so that a child might be fostered by someone who then goes on to adopt them,
  • If an adoptive match is not found locally in three months, local authorities will have to put the child on the national adoption register.

Naomi Angell, a consultant at Osbornes and a leading international adoption lawyer who also spoke alongside Martin Narey at Osbornes adoption event comments that:

“Having adoption high up the political agenda is crucial and today’s announcements are a step forward in reducing the number of children in care. According to the latest government figures there are 6,770 children who have been identified for adoption in England. It is important for the entire adoption community to work together collaboratively to reduce this number, with the needs and requirements of the child as the number one priority”

Full details of the changes will be published next week by education secretary Michael Gove. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the legal profession, social workers and local authorities responds to today’s announcement and next week’s publication.


Naomi Angell is a leading adoption lawyer in the UK. If you are thinking about adopting a child contact Naomi for advice on the legal process.

Osbornes recently held an adoption debate which not only featured Naomi Angell, but the government advisor on adoption, Martin Narey, a Court of Appeal Judge and the CEO of Adoption UK.

You can reach Naomi by:

The family department at Osbornes is recommeded and ranked by independent legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.  Our specialist famiy lawyers in London advise on all aspects of family lawincluding divorce law.

Naomi is also ranked in Chambers and Partners, an independent legal directory as a recommended family law solicitor.

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