Thursday, November 28, 2013

Adoption in 2013: Supporting Parents and Children

With adoption, often comes great trauma for children. Due to a recent government initiative, £19m has been set aside to help kids recover from distressing experiences and give them the best chance with a new family. This will include family law support, cognitive behavioural therapy, and music therapy.

This is a much needed lifeline for families that have taken children into their homes; they may well have physical or mental issues, as a direct result of early trauma. If left untreated, this can seriously affect the brain development of children.

Most adoptions begin with a life-changing loss for a child, which can take its toll on mental health. Not enough children and adopting parents have access to the help they need. This can lead to destructive and abusive behaviour from children, later down the line, and can put adopted parents in jeopardy.

With funding towards mental and physical support, it could mean ‘hard to place’ children have a better chance at thriving in an adopted family and finding happiness. According to adoption charities, many parents are unaware that they have a right to support from their local council. More than half of families surveyed that needed access to mental health support, had not received it.

Speeding Up

Last year, 5,206 adoptions took place in England and Wales, which is a 9.8% increase on 2011. This is good news for kids stuck in the foster system, but with the government putting pressure on local councils to ship out children before suitable families have been found, they run the risk of doing the children more harm than good, in the long term.

Although it’s better to get adopted, to begin the bonding process, trying to rush through crucial processes could lead to serious oversights and less than ideal care placements for already vulnerable children.

Stepping Forward

Councils need more people to step forward and adopt children. Same sex couples are the perfect demographic; especially seeing as rights for homosexual partners have thankfully increased recently with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. Adoption agencies are now actively looking for same sex couples to adopt children. Last year, same sex adoption rate rose from 2.5% to 4.6%.

Cambridge University’s centre for family research recently found that gay or lesbian couples are just as likely to thrive in a family scenario as heterosexual partners (apparently some people need a statistic to prove this!). Same sex couples can offer stable homes for children in the adoption circuit.

There’s a growing amount of children being taken into care. It’s estimated that an extra 9,000 foster carers will need to be found next year to cope with the vast numbers of children in-need of homes. By providing greater support to families, we can increase the success rate of placement families and encourage more people to consider adoption, whether they be same sex couples or single parents.