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Wales outlines plans for adoption reform

Public consultation to be launched into adoption proposals

The Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children has outlined plans for reform to adoption in Wales.

March will see the launch of a public consultation on the Welsh Government's proposed Social Services Bill.

The Welsh government says that the Bill explores the remit and functions of a national service that will work with existing adoption agencies to reduce bureaucracy so that organisations can focus on efficient delivery as well as service change.

The proposals will aim to enable reinvestment in permanency for the children who cannot be reunited with their families and provide greater equity in after-adoption services. The intention is that the national model will see adoption agencies in Wales working together, recognising the specialist nature and skills required to advance adoption services. This approach, says the government, will reap greater benefits and equity in the arrangements for adoptions including the pooling of prospective adopters and specialist skills; enabling reinvestment in permanent placements for children; and greater equity in after-adoption services through training and after-support programmes.

Deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas said:

"Without a programme of transformation, social services will not meet the needs of the people of Wales - they are simply not sustainable.

"This programme for change is only achieved through strong partnership and collaborative working with local authorities, independent and the voluntary sector. Local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies need to work together in harnessing the specialist nature of the adoption service.

"We believe that establishing a national body will help to transform the adoption service. The Social Services Bill I outlined at the end of last month will be central to this."

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) Cymru has welcomed the Welsh Government's commitment to Adoption Reform in Wales. Wendy Keidan, Director of BAAF Cymru, said:

"We are already working closely with WLGA, our statutory and voluntary sector partners to progress reforms that will ensure the child's needs are integral to a Welsh National Adoption Service. We welcome the statement made by the Deputy Minister on greater equity for all those affected by adoption and believe that this could be achieved by reducing bureaucracy that could lead to unnecessary delay for the child and by supporting those professionals involved in the delivery of this critical service."