Govt says Social Workers could be taken out of Adoption Process
- 25 Jan
The government has announced that local authority social workers will be removed from recruiting and assessing adopters, and it will outsourced if adoption figures do not improve.
Directors of children's services and local authority leaders have hit out at the government's latest move, describing it as 'madness', 'demoralising' and 'heavy-handed'
Local authority social workers could be stripped of their duties recruiting and assessing prospective adopters, if government threats are carried out in England.
Under the proposal, announced today by the Department for Education (DfE), councils would be removed from the adoption screening process entirely. Local authority social workers would only be involved in the later stages of adoption, such as matching children with families and providing post-adoption support.
Instead, ministers would use new powers to force councils to outsource the adoption screening process to voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs). It is still unclear whether local authority adoption social workers who currently have this responsibility would be transferred to voluntary agencies.
Recent figures have shown increasing numbers of children being placed with new families amid a drive to speed up the process, but with the number of children being taken into care running close to record levels, the waiting list continues to grow.
There are now 4,600 children were waiting to be adopted in England and the Department for Education estimates that councils will need to recruit 600 new adopters a year plus another 3,000 just to clear the backlog.
Councils are responsible for recruiting parents in their own area but are not required to, for example, help neighbouring authorities.
In a statement, the DfE said:
Today's announcement is the last chance for local authorities to demonstrate they can take convincing action to put a plan in place for the long term and recruit the adopters children need now nationally.
If this fails to happen we will use the new power that we will legislate for at the earliest opportunity, to require local authorities to outsource their adoption recruitment and approval services.
The plans have already proved deeply unpopular with council bosses and sector leaders. The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) said directors have always "strongly opposed" it, while the Local Government Association (LGA) warned the government risks creating a "confusing and disjointed" system.
David Simmonds, a councillor in Tory-led Hillingdon council and chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said local authorities are committed to tackling the variation in adoption performance nationally, and are looking at ways to improve the system, but warned the government's latest proposals could jeopardise this:
Parents tell us they value the consistent support a council social worker offers throughout the process, with many continuing to offer assistance long after the adoption.
This move risks creating a disjointed and confusing system.
Only one in five adopters are recruited by voluntary adoption agencies and there is a real danger that they won't be able to expand their operations to meet the demands that would be placed on them.
ADCS president Debbie Jones agreed:
At a time when more adopters are needed, taking the power away from the largest current supplier of adopters is ill thought through.
Councils should be encouraged to recruit as many suitable adopters as possible, and not do this difficult task with a ministerial "Sword of Damocles" hanging over them. It will be confusing and demoralising for adopters and adoption staff alike.
The government is also set to announce £150m funding for adoption services.
Edward Timpson, childrens minister, is expected to announce that a £150 million fund for work with children will be directed to support adoption reform.
Of that £50 million will be set aside to pay for measures to help local authorities find more adopters, including paying fees to other councils or agencies when necessary, but if the money did not secure the improvements needed, the Government would move to outsource responsibility.
However, Simmonds says this is not actually new funding, and is actually a net reduction:
This represents a net reduction in funding for councils and could significantly impact on frontline services for vulnerable children.
- 10 Aug
New social enterprise to help adults with vulnerabilities
Aspire Community Benefit Society is taking over the council’s Learning Disability Service for a five year contract, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post.This new model will see the Learning...
- 30 Jul
New app hopes to bring smarter housing for social landlords
The ZONR app combines the latest intelligent sensor technology, smart data transmission and decision engine analytics to centrally monitor and support heating systems across social landlord’s...
- 05 May
New model of care homes in Wakefield to go ahead
WDH's vision was being able to help people live longer, healthier lives and see support by co-ordinated services delivered as close to their homes as possible under the banner of ‘Connecting Care',...
- 29 Dec
App to support young people with autism with social interactions
This new app launched by Samsung aims to help treat the inability to make eye contact. The app, called Look at Me, has been developed with Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and Yonsei...
- 27 Oct
3D maps could help people with visual impairments navigate cities
The official mapping body for Japan GSI have already developed paper maps for those with visual impairments using embossed surfaces to mark out roads, and is now planning a programme which will do...
- 21 Oct
A paralysed man has been able to walk again following cell transplant
Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down following a knife attack in 2010, is now able to walk using a frame, reports the BBC. The treatment is a world first and was carried out by...
- 08 Jul
Breakthrough blood test for Alzheimer's cure
An international collaboration led by scientists from King's College London and Proteome Sciences has published a study identifying a set of ten proteins in the blood. This test will then predict the...
- 04 Jul
Trials for Alzheimer's disease is declining
US scientists have said there is an urgent need to increase the number of potential therapies being investigated. They say that only one new medicine has been approved since 2004, reports the BBC.The...
- 02 May
Study into the possibility of delaying the onset of dementia
One third of a million adults in the UK are taking part in a trial, funded by the Medical Research Council to try to predict what factors increases the risk of a person developing dementia.Each of...
- 10 Mar
Scientists believe a blood test could detect the early signs of Alzheimer's
Researchers have found that changes in the blood may signify Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, has identified ten molecules in blood...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The conference tackled todays issues at provider level, and provided knowledgeable people to present the workshops. A.L - Caraston Hall