Nagalro Press Release: "WHOLE SYSTEM CHANGE AT ALL LEVELS" required for black children seeking adoption, House of Lords finds
“WHOLE SYSTEM CHANGE AT ALL LEVELS” REQUIRED FOR BLACK CHILDREN SEEKING ADOPTION HOUSE OF LORDS FINDS
The report of the House of Lords’ Children and Families Act 2014 Committee published its report on 6 December 2022. The report’s title is ‘A failure of implementation’ and sets out how, what was envisaged as a landmark piece of legislation is, instead, ‘a missed opportunity’. The Committee finds that the Act has ‘failed in meaningfully improving the lives of children and young people’ … ‘as a result of a lack of implementation, inadequate scrutiny and incessant churn amongst Ministers and officials’.
One provision of the 2014 Act was to repeal (for England but not in Wales) the requirement in s1(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, requiring adoption agencies to ‘give due consideration to the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background’. Nagalro has for some time argued that this was a retrograde step and would harm, rather than improve, the plight of Black children seeking adoption. In its evidence to the Committee. Nagalro said that:
‘Black children are in effect being treated differently from their white counterparts who are almost certain to be placed with adoptive parents who reflect their cultural, religious and linguistic needs. The impact of the deletion … is that Black children are more likely to be placed with families who do not reflect their heritage and who are not able to meet their cultural, religious and linguistic needs’.
The Committee found that the Government had not carried out any research into the impact of the repeal and that Black children wait the longest to be matched with a new adoptive family. When questioned by the Committee, the then Minister of State, Kelly Tolhurst MP said that she did not know why this was and could not point out any specific reasons or initiatives being undertaken to address the problem.
The Committee has recommended the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing ethnic and racial disparities in the adoption system. Nagalro Chair, Yvonne Wilson, responding to the report, said:
‘I hope that the Government will listen to the Committee’s recommendations and implement them. For too long, Black children have been over-represented in children in care and wait longer for an adoptive placement. We need to deal with why we have so many Black children coming into care and why we do not have enough Black people coming forward to adopt’