The government appears to be generating a lot of noise about adoption guidelines and its role in improving the process. Last week David Cameron did it again, setting of a media frenzy when he announced a new bill designed to increase the speed with which adoptions are carried out, as well as making it easier for inter-racial adoptions to take place.
Given the amount of bandwidth and the media’s insatiable desire for more stories, it’s easy to generate noise. But does that translate into real and meaningful action?
It’s a little misleading to see the government issuing an Adoption Bill rather than what it has done so far which is pronounce ‘guidelines.’ The fact is the laws they are talking about already exists. In 2000 a White Paper from the Labour party became the Adoption Children’s Act in 2002. A year ago, Tim Loughton issued new guidelines on interracial adoptions.
So what has been achieved so far? Nothing.
The reason is that the government is still standing outside the circle, continuing to pass blame on to local councils and social workers (not always unwarranted) while insisting on not taking actual responsibility. A year ago Tim Loughton told me he was confident this would happen; that we might have measures in place to create, enforce and monitor those Councils and Social Workers and make the guidelines stick.
Eleven months later the prime minister has had to intervene to impose stricter measures. Meanwhile, time has been wasted and let’s be clear here, we’re talking about lives that are not just on hold, but being ruined. The longer a child is in care the less likely he or she will find a stable, loving family home.
Adoption With Humanity continues to call for action and for the government to set up a National Adoption Authority to address the crisis the system is in at present. Not just for the children’s sake. But for all of us because the impact of unloved children is not just personal, it’s social.