Long adoption wait in Hackney is a ‘cause for concern’

Councillor Rita Krishna

Councillor Rita Krishna - Credit: Archant

»Children waiting to be adopted in the borough face nearly a two and a half year wait – making it one of the worst places in the country to be adopted.

On average, Hackney children aged 15 months to seven years had to wait 868 days to get a new home after being placed in care – putting it in the bottom category for waiting times (692 to 1,082 days). and the worst eighth in the country.

The figures, released by the Department for Education (DfE), show that out of dozens on the waiting list only an average of 11 were adopted per year from 2010 to 2012. But Hackney Council were unable to say how many children they had placed in the last year, or how many are currently waiting to be adopted.

The DfE threshold is 639 days from admission to care to placement with a family.

Jeffrey Coleman, project programme director at British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), said: “Waiting times are generally quite a significant and robust indicator. If you’ve got a very long period before children are admitted to an adoptive home it causes immense concern because experiencing so long in the care system is fraught with uncertainty.

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“Children might have to move between foster placements. The longer you remain in foster care, you are more subject to such risks.

“The move to an adoptive family can be more stressful for a child as they may have put down roots with a foster family. The earlier they are in a secure loving home the better that is for all dimensions of their development.

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“That’s why it’s important to speed this process up.

He added there was not “a simplistic solution” to resolving the issue as he acknowledged there were “huge difficulties” recruiting adopters.

Cllr Rita Krishna, Hackney Council cabinet member for education and children’s services, said: “The adoption waiting time figures really don’t tell the whole story.

“Hackney has one of the best records of stability of adoptive placements; anyone must see that placement breakdown is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to an adopted child, who will often have already experienced rejection or other difficulties.

“In Hackney we work hard at matching – which is about emotional and personality matching – and our placements rarely break down.

“We also never give up on older or disabled children, despite it being much harder to find families for them.

“However like most of London and the UK, we always need more prospective adoptors, so we continue to work hard to recruit them.“

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