Government plans to make local authorities consider concurrent planning (or ‘foster to adopt’ as it is being described) for adoption should be encouraged. Placing children in care in a foster placement with a view to them being adopted by the foster carers if they cannot be returned to their birth families will reduce the chance of multiple placements and disruption. However, concurrent planning will only be possible in a very small number of cases.
Concurrent planning requires that people who want to adopt a child will have to accept the prospect that they will not be able to do so. If the child is able to return to birth parents then that will happen. There are people who are willing to do this but, particularly for families wishing to adopt as they are unable to have their own children, this is a lot to ask. In our experience, it is more likely that people will consider concurrent planning if they have started as foster carers and then considered adoption.
The number of children in the care system for whom the best outcome is adoption is retentively small. Of this number, only a few will be suitable for concurrent planning. This means that the government are identifying a solution that will only benefit a few of the eighty thousand children in care across the UK. Care should be a positive experience for all looked after children. Long term, stable fostering is as important in helping young people lead positive successful lives as adoption. TACT believes that all care experiences can be positive and that each aspect of the care system deserves attention. The focus on adoption should not be at the expense of other care options.
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