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Christian charity urges caution over new adoption law, set to speed up the process

Thu 14 Jan 2016
By Antony Bushfield

A Christian charity has urged the government to ensure the child is at the heart of new laws to speed up the adoption process.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has confirmed a change in the rules so that courts and councils have to give top priority to adoption for children in care in the future.

The law is to be changed to make it clear that these bodies must look first at long-term placements in a family that will give youngsters who have been suffering from abuse or neglect stability throughout their childhood, she said.

The change comes amid concerns by government that councils and courts do not always give enough thought to the stable home life and high quality care that an adoptive family can provide, and sometimes just focus on who can support a child in the short-term.

But the Chief Executive of Christian charity Home For Good, Phil Green, told Premier the government had to review "carefully" and new laws or policies to ensure children were the focus.

"We think that's entirely the essential ingredient in all of this, that the child is always at the focus," he said.

He added: "We want to make sure there's a sensible decision taken about when foster care is appropriate and when adoption is the best option."

Mrs Morgan said: "Every single day a child spends waiting in care is a further delay to a life full of love and stability - and this simply isn't good enough.

"We have a responsibility to transform the lives of our most vulnerable children, making sure they get the opportunities they deserve.

"That's why we are changing the law on adoption to make sure decisions rightly prioritise children's long-term stability and happiness, so that children are placed with their new family as quickly as possible, helping them fulfil their potential and get the very best start in life."

Official figures show that over the last two years, the number of decisions for adoption made by courts and councils has dropped by about 50%.

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