For the first time, a new agency will bring together adoption services in Wales. The aim is to increase the pool of adopters, and ensure better support. It's part of wider plans to overhaul the way social services are run here. Jane Solomons reports.
One of the first elements of the new service to be launched is a secure online register, which allows adoption agencies in Wales to access a Wales-wide register of children waiting to be adopted and of approved prospective adopters.
The Wales Adoption Register will provide a wider pool of prospective adopters and will help potential matches to be identified more quickly.
I recognise and am still concerned with delays in the adoption system and the potential lasting harm this can have on children, robbing them of their best chance of love and stability of a new family.
I refuse to accept that children can be left to drift in the care system and I expect to see an upward trend over the next few years as the National Adoption Service drives up standards and performance.
– Gwenda Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Social Services.
That's why we needed to make a step change in the way adoption services are deliver and through the establishment of a national service, which will have the power to deliver services across Wales, we are delivering that change. The new service will address current concerns without losing the undeniable strengths of the existing system, achieving change without detriment.
A new service to speed up the adoption process in Wales will be launched in November 2014. The Welsh government wants the National Adoption Service for Wales to encourage more adoptions, and make sure that new parents get the support and help they need.
The aim is to cut down delays, which often mean that children lose time in secure and loving homes with new families and are in danger of drifting into the care system.
A new Wales-wide register will be set up with details of all children that are waiting to be adopted, and also all approved adopters. Adoption agencies will be able to access the information and will be able to match children to families quickly.
Harmful myths surrounding adoption are contributing to a severe shortage of people adopting in Wales, a new study shows.
Figures released by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering shows almost half of Welsh adults surveyed think being unemployed or overweight would discredit them from adopting a child.
The number of Welsh children in care has risen by 25 per cent over the past five years.
Experts think these misunderstandings are preventing hundreds of children in Wales from finding a permanent home.
The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services says she can "learn a lot from families" who have already been through the adoption process, as she tries to eliminate delays in the system. Gwenda Thomas met a family who have adopted two of their three children in Cardiff this morning.
– Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services
Any delay to a child’s case can be detrimental to their prospects for adoption and we are looking at all possible ways to help a child settle with their adoptive family sooner. The new national adoption service will work with existing agencies, in ensuring that children languishing in care... are not left one more day than is necessary. I want to eliminate waiting lists for prospective adopters, who routinely face delays for training and assessment, improve the matching process, allay adoption breakdown by a comprehensive adoption support service and streamline the adoption process.