Social Services: Adoption procedures criticised

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Local authorities are providing a poor quality adoption service, a report revealed yesterday.

Inspections of seven local authorities by the Social Services Inspectorate found the adoption process is littered with avoidable delays, poor management and monitoring. The report - For Children's Sake Part II: An Inspection of Local Authority Post Placement and Post-Adoption Services - documents the radical changes in the needs of children placed for adoption over the last decade.

The agency's chief inspector, Sir Herbert Laming, said adoption services must be improved so that adopted children and adults get the service they deserve.

"The findings of recent inspections in seven local authorities raise questions about whether social services departments are responding to the challenges presented by adoption."

Delays in the adoption process, post-adoption support for adoptive and birth families, services for adopted adults, and a lack of commitment to inter-country adoption are the key issues which need to be addressed, he said.

Paul Boateng, Under-Secretary of State for Health, said the findings of the report must be addressed as a matter of urgency.