Child welfare reforms: Government want children taken into care to be fast-tracked into permanent adoption

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Children taken into care will to be fast-tracked into permanent adoption away from their natural parents under Government plans to change the way vulnerable young people are looked after by the state.

In a wide-ranging package of reforms ministers intend to change the law to make it clear that courts and social workers must always pursue adoption when it is in a child’s best interest.

The move is expected to result in many more children being permanently adopted rather than being placed in foster homes in the hope that they could in future be re-united with their natural parents.

However the plan faces strong opposition from social workers who claim the Government is pushing adoption to save money and have warned councils will feel compelled to meet centrally set targets, rather than acting in the best interests of children.

Currently it can take up to 18 months for children in care to be adopted a time scale that ministers want to half.

As part of the proposals the Government has also pledged to provide more support for adopted children and the parents who look after them.

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