Letter: Reform of adoption

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is truly wonderful to see Jack Straw and his social exclusion team singing from the Adoption Forum's hymn sheet ("Straw to act over crisis in adoption", 13 March).

We've been saying since our inception three years ago that the number of adoptions from care is scandalously low and leaves many thousands of children who remain in long-term care at serious risk of misery and failure for the rest of their lives.

We welcome, too, Mr Straw's reforming zeal and the suggestion that the local authorities' sovereignty over children will be at risk if they don't pull up their socks and deliver a better deal. Another verse from our hymn.

But how happy we would be if Mr Straw's team also adopted our next verse: that the culture within social work will not change without outside enforcement. We need a watchdog with a very loud bark and encouragingly sharp teeth. If gas and electricity are worthy of independent but official hounds, surely children deserve nothing less.

LIV O'HANLON

Director

The Adoption Forum

London SW8

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