Sir: The low use of adoption by some local authorities for children in care is, of course, a cause for concern. The British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering welcomed the Quality Protects initiative, launched last September, which will make new money available to local authorities. This money is allocated against local targets which are to include increases in the number of children being adopted. It is, therefore, surely premature for Julian Brazier to ask the Government to "punish" local authorities for past performance when the new thrust to increase adoption, which has been welcomed by social workers, has only just begun.
It has never been the case that large numbers of children in care have been adopted by new families. The 21,000 children per year adopted in the 1970s consisted almost entirely of adoptions of children by their step-parents (at least half the total) and infants relinquished for adoption by single birth mothers. Both these forms of adoption have dropped drastically for reasons relating to different custody arrangements for step-parents and societal changes in attitude to single mothers.
British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering