WillisPalmer launches Remote Assessment Service

WillisPalmer have launched a Remote Assessment Service to deliver social work assessments safely during COVID pandemic.

Read more
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Court ruling ‘confusion’ triggers first fall in adoptions for five years

Adoption campaigners say drop reflects impact of Re B and Re B-S rulings on practice and decision-making

Paint2_Lb

The number of children adopted in England has dropped for the first time in five years, with experts attributing the fall to “confusion” surrounding two landmark court rulings.

Government figures published today revealed 4,690 looked-after children were adopted in 2015-16, down 12% from 5,360 the previous year.

The overall number of looked-after children increased 1% to 70,440, with the rise attributed to an increase in unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Special Guardianship Orders increased 8%, from 3,550 in 14-15 to 3,830 in 15-16.

Campaigners said the “dramatic” fall in adoptions was evidence of the impact that two 2013 court rulings – Re B and Re B-S – have had on practice, echoing similar concerns previously raised by the National Adoption Leadership Board.

Both judgments introduced the concept that adoption orders that sever ties with a child’s birth family should only be granted where, in the words of one of the judges, “nothing else will do”.

While the judgments did not alter the law, councils are widely seen to have viewed them as having raised the bar for adoption recommendations. Adoption placement orders dropped 45% in the year after the rulings, leading the adoption leadership board to publish a ‘myth buster’ on the judgments.

Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “I’ve feared for some time that there would be a dramatic fall in adoptions this year so the drop comes as no surprise. We expect to see a further fall in the current year.

“Adoption can offer the best chance to permanently break a cycle of neglect and abuse and give a child a second chance at fulfilling their potential with the support of a loving family – so we cannot stress enough the importance of clearing up any confusion over the 2013 rulings which has undoubtedly had a negative impact upon adoption decisions and placement orders in recent years.”

Signs that professionals are struggling to get to grips with the ruling have been seen in the courts.

In July, the Court of Appeal ordered a re-hearing of a case after finding a judge had relied on evidence from two social workers who misunderstood the Re B ruling. Both experienced workers “fell into the trap” of recommending a Special Guardianship Order because it was a viable family placement. They had failed to carry out a proper analysis of the impact on the child’s welfare of breaking her attachment with prospective adopters, the court found.

The government figures also revealed a 54% increase in the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children, from 2,710 in 14-15 to 4,210 in 15-16. Two thirds of the children were located in London and the South East.

Story courtesy of Community Care

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

More court days for family cases this year despite restrictions

26/11/2020

There have been more court sitting days taking place on family cases this year than in any previous year, despite the lockdown, the president of the family courts division has said.

In his ‘View from the Chambers,’ Andrew McFarlane said this level of activity is necessary as it is not possible to conduct as many cases [...]

Read Full Story

Half of Youth Offending Services require improvement

25/11/2020

Improvements are required in more than half of the Youth Offending Services inspected this year, according to the HM Inspectorate of Probation.

Of the 16 Youth Offending Services inspected, eight required improvement while one, Cardiff, was rated inadequate.

Chief Inspector Justin Russell said: “It is disappointing that the overall quality of the youth offending services we have [...]

Read Full Story

Highest number of children’s homes registered could be in response to COVID

25/11/2020

The highest number of children’s homes were registered by Ofsted between April and August, potentially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ofsted registered 176 new children’s homes between 1 April and 31 August, the highest number recorded in that period. This follows a continued increase in registrations year on year since at least 2015 and a [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us
closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram