Cllr Jenny Whittle, the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children's Services on Kent County Council, says remembering the human factor can help more children in the care system have the chance of adoption
The Government’s drive for councils to increase the number of adoptions, recruit more adopters, and eradicate delay in getting children adopted is absolutely right. Last year Kent County Council entered into an innovative partnership with children’s charity, Coram. We have doubled the number of information days for prospective adopters, worked with voluntary agencies to widen our pool of adopters, substantially grown our family finding team, and streamlined a process for recruiting adopters which candidly had been deterring some would-be adopters from pursuing a vital cause.
This has resulted in the number of children placed with adoptive families by Kent County Council increasing from 68 to 143 over a year.
But however much councils try, some children remain harder to place, particularly older children, siblings and those with disabilities. The adoption process in the country centres on social workers seeking to identify matches between adopters and children. It doesn’t enable adopters to consider a child who on paper may not fit what may have been their ideal. Paper and DVD profiles miss a fundamental factor: the chemistry and warmth that can evolve between adults and children when they meet.