Tuesday, January 31, 2017


It took an item on the Victoria Derbyshire programme to get the crisis in adoption onto the agenda.

They interviewed the dad in a family who'd sent an adopted child back into care, he said it was the worst decision he'd ever had to make.

The scale of the problem isn't revealed by numbers because, shockingly, there aren't any. There are estimates, they vary wildly; the BBC website reports that 3.2% to 9% of adoptions fail.

The charity Adoption UK thinks 25% of all adoptions are in crisis.

I'm thinking about this in its own right but also because adoption overlaps with fostering in many ways.

The majority of failed adoptions will be placed with us foster parents. We'll have to try where the adoption has failed. I use the word 'failed' reluctantly, because we all know what some children in care can be like. Indeed there are times when some are too much for fostering and children for whom that's the case end up in special care such as a unit.

But I wonder if the government are simply cutting too many corners with adoption. It appears to me that once the adoption goes through the family are pretty much on their own. In fostering we get support, ongoing training and supervision. If the child isn't settling there's expertise available, whether it works is another matter, but the point is we're not alone. I don't know more than the next person about adoption, but it looks pretty lonely compared to what we do.

If an adopted child is struggling there is government money available for therapy etc, but it's capped at £5000 per year, much less than the cost of fostering.

Money isn't everything, but it helps. Why can't there be bands of care for children?

Ultra Fostering - the most challenging cases; full-on-suppport and backup.

Fostering Regular - what we have now.

Fostering Light - for those children and young adults who are relatively maintenance-free.

Adoption Plus - for children who are wanted as full family members but have issues to iron out; intervention and support available.

Adoption Regular - for children who have settled as family.

I haven't done the sums, but with good management the system could get better results on the existing budget. 


  1. Some of our friends have adopted and you are spot on that the aftercare is pretty much non existant. They seem to be much more heavily vetted up front but very little after. One family I know has had one training session a year which seems to be about ensuring the child knows their life story and is getting fed that info in the right way. No ongoing support in how to look after a fracious little one with issues with food, sleep and honesty.

    My little group of friends is lucky - we are our own little support group - birth, step, adopted and foster kids in the mix so we can share experiences and ideas. I often share the things I've learned at my fostering training which help the adopters too. I do think they would benefit from some more support early on, not intrusive just guidance and sometimes reassurances they are doing ok! It might help stop some of those breakdowns.

    My other big critism of the system is how we are only able to be on the books of one agency or local authority at a time. I can see why, however if the agency falls out of favour or the local authority has a quiet spell its not great for us. I think they need to make the process of moving far easier. I could rant for hours...

  2. Rant on, not that you're 'ranting'. All good points. You know what you're talking about.
    People who legislate on fostering/adoption are people who haven't done it, and when they get advice you can bet it will be from 'experts'.
    Experts who've never done it.
    That's why we value our friends who foster; they KNOW.