In May 2021, we submitted a briefing to the Independent Review for Children's Social Care on four intersecting priorities for modernising adoption in the 21st century. We framed these priorities in terms of the system issues that our members have identified through their work with children, families, statutory adoption agencies, and the courts.

Download the 21st Century Adoption briefing for the Care Review

  1. There is a lack of consensus about the lifelong benefits of adoption for children who cannot remain with their birth families.
  2. Children continue to wait far too long for adoptive families, and many leave care without a lifelong family.
  3. There is not enough support for adopted children and their families to maintain lifelong relationships with important people, including birth relatives.
  4. Data on adoption across the UK is fragmented, slow to be published, and not currently triangulated with other relevant data.

We made the following recommendations with regards to the Care Review's investigation of the care system:

  1. The Care Review should interrogate the care planning process to clarify how decisions about placement choice are being made and what is happening to the children who, in previous years, would have been considered for  adoption. Family Court processes should form part of this investigation.
  2. The Care Review should seek to understand the barriers to permanence and disparities in outcomes for children and young people from different backgrounds and with differing needs. One of the Review’s goals should be to remove systemic obstacles and embed positive drivers to enable all children who cannot grow up with their birth families to be placed based solely on their needs – not financial or organisational policies. A lifelong family should be the right of every child.
  3. The Care Review should map the current contact and lifelong identity arrangements for children in care, adopted children, and children living with special guardians, with a focus on dismantling the structural barriers to enabling children’s relationships and identity development.
  4. Transparency, technology, and collaboration should be at the heart of data collection in the 21st century. The Care Review should seek to understand how data-sharing and triangulation could drive solutions across the care and permanency system.