The Adoption Barometer 2021, a comprehensive report on the lives of adoptive families across the UK and the policies that govern adoption, has been published by the charity Adoption UK. The report calls for a six point plan to improve the life chances of adopted young people. It includes multi-disciplinary assessments and support plans for every child placed for adoption and the extension of adoption services to at least age 26.
In response to the report, Dr Carol Homden, CEO of Coram, said: “Coram welcomes today’s publication of the Adoption Barometer 2021 and its recommendations to improve the lives of adopted children and young people. It is vital that all prospective adopters receive the same consistent high standard of support as they navigate the adoption process and Coram is calling for all regional adoption agencies (RAA) to be inspected in the same way that voluntary adoption agencies (VAA) are so that we can provide equal assurance to all prospective adopters.
“We must also ensure that the tailored, high-quality support that adopters are entitled to during the application process continues for as long as families need it. We welcome the report’s call for multi-year government funding for adoption support but there also needs to be an assurance that children and families will have effective access to NHS services amid the growing understanding of the complexity and lifelong impact of adoption.
“Coram recognises that adoptive families need the reassurance that they are not alone in caring for their child who has had a difficult start in life and our specialist adoption support team provides a range of therapies including music and art therapy to help children express their emotions, therapeutic parenting to help parents understand their child’s needs and develop the skills to respond to those needs, as well as trauma-focused CBT that is specially adapted for young people.
“It is also important to recognise that adopted children may require additional support in education and Coram continues to call for all adoptive children to be assessed for Education Health Care Plan, ensuring that, if needed, support would continue up to the age of 25. Coram fully supports the recommendation to improve the data on adopted children in school, particularly as they are significantly more likely to face school exclusion.
“While it is vital that all education and health professionals receive training on the impacts of early childhood trauma, attachment disorder and associated issues, Coram is calling for education advocacy to be built into every adopted child’s support plan.
“Today’s adopted children are growing up in the “digital-first” era and as they transition to adulthood, there are extra challenges that families must navigate. The journey of adopted children exploring their identity is starting at a younger age and social media is increasing the risks of them doing so without support. Adoption agencies need to offer pre-emptive support for families, such as effective life story work, to mitigate these issues before they arise.”