Bill has announced his support for new Government plans designed to radically reduce the time it takes for babies to move in with a permanent family. Speaking shortly after the news he commented:

“Although most people are part of a loving family, able to support us through rough and smooth, not everyone is so lucky.

All children deserve a permanent, secure and happy home to grow up in. These new plans will help make that goal a reality – speeding up the adoption process and minimising disruption.

It is fantastic news, not only for those families directly involved but also Britain as a whole.”

Last year Herefordshire had 200 children within the care system. Nationwide just 60 babies less than one year old were adopted in 2010/11.

Under the new proposals a ‘foster-first’ policy for approved adopters would replace the lengthy wait for court orders and paperwork still faced by many couples. The Government hopes its changes will help give every young person the 

best possible start in life – enabling them to reap the benefits of growing up in a stable and loving environment.

Amanda Bentley C. Psychol; M.Sc. PGCE.,B.Th (Hons), a local psychologist, shared her views:

“Security within an emotionally responsive and secure home, particularly in the very early years of a

child’s life is essential for positive developmental outcomes. Considered measures to speed up decision making in permanency arrangements for children entering the care system is long overdue and are to be applauded.   

Unnecessary changes of caregiver for the most vulnerable children in our society adds to further disruption, leading to feelings of insecurity in those who have already experienced the grief of separation and loss, and should be protected wherever possible from re-experiencing such trauma again.  Repeated changes of caregiver in early life is associated with a variety of attachment disorders which may impact on a child’s mental health and wellbeing even into adulthood, and so the issue of early permanency following entry to care is of critical importance, both for children and their new families.

The area is complex and emotive, invoking strong reactions in birth parents, foster carers and prospective adoptive parents, all of whom continue to need sensitive consideration in the process of fostering and adoption.  Whilst fully acknowledging the need for ongoing support for all involved, we should never allow our vision of the child at the centre of decision making to become clouded.   Children must be placed more fully at the centre of both policy and practice.  Although there are areas where further clarification would be helpful, the current adoption reforms do aim to achieve this.”