Jadwiga Ball, CEO of Clifton Children’s Society (CCS) Adoption explains the impact of the new Government changes which are being brought in to make the adoption process easier, and dispels some of the myths around adoption.

The Government Action Plan

In response to the length of time that children were waiting in the care system for a new home, the government set up an expert working group in December 2011, comprising key partners from across the adoption sector to help redesign and speed up the process from initial enquiry through to assessment, with a view to developing a larger pool of approved adoptive parents. The working group developed a set of reform proposals that built on existing best practice. The government’s response was to publish its report ‘An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay’, which explains how the Government intends to speed up the adoption system in England. The current Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, who has very relevant experience having grown up in a family with two adopted brothers, says that the government wants to create a more effective and user-friendly adoption system. Therefore, the action plan sets out a range of proposals to speed up the adoption process, such as tight time scales for court proceedings involving children (Previously up to a year or longer and now recommended to be no more than 26 weeks.

New Adoption Gateway

CCS Adoption welcomes the launch of a new adoption gateway ‘First4Adoption’, which is just one way that adoption processes are being reformed in order to make sure that every child for whom adoption is the right answer is able to find a loving and permanent family. Getting started on the adoption journey can be challenging and often people don’t know where to go for information. First4Adoption provides an invaluable resource for prospective adopters. The new gateway was launched in response to a national shortage of adopters, with over 4200 children currently waiting to find new homes. It is hoped that First4Adoption will encourage joint working between local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies and provide a positive and productive way forward to increase the number of adopters available.

Can I Adopt? 9 Common Misconceptions

  1. The assessment process takes a long time & will be invasive. Many of our adopters have found the assessment process an informative experience and an important part of the adoption journey. The CCS Social Worker team places special importance on building positive relationships during assessment, recognising how important this is in finding the right match between parent and child.
  2. I'm over 40, can I adopt? – Yes, most adopters are in their late 30s to early 50s. You do need to be over 21. Consideration will be given to your age in relation to the age of the child you want to adopt.
  3. I'm gay/lesbian, can I adopt? Whether you are heterosexual, lesbian or gay is not a factor in your right to adopt.
  4. Can I adopt if I work full-time/I'm unemployed/I'm on a low income? Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but low income, being unemployed or employed do not automatically rule you out.
  5. I’m single, can I adopt? - Single men and women and unmarried couples can and do adopt very successfully
  6. Can I adopt if I have children living at home? Yes you can. Having children of your own (of any age) will not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up. CCS is experienced at matching children and adopted families and will take into account existing family members and the impact on them
  7. I can't have birth children, can I adopt? Yes, please don’t hesitate to ask for information at any stage. Fertility investigations and treatment would need to be complete before beginning the adoption process. Don’t think you have to have experience of children to apply for adoption
  8. Can I adopt a child from a different ethnic background? Yes you can, the aim for everyone in the adoption system is to find loving families for each child in need of a happy future. Ethnicity is relevant however and you must have an understanding of the challenges that raising a child of a different ethnicity can provide. CCS is keen to hear from people who are from a range of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds to reflect the origins of the children waiting
  9. Once I have adopted will I be on my own if there are any problems? Not at all, CCS adopters receive a wide range of on-going support as part of our commitment to life-long adoption support.

  Counselling can be helpful before, during and after the adoption process. If you're struggling with this issue, why not see if  counselling could be useful for you. Visit our therapy directory and find a counsellor who can help you now.