Responding to the consultation on reforms to adoption and fostering, Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA Children and Young People Board, said:
"It is good news that the Government has listened to local authority concerns and decided to take steps to cut bureaucracy. Any reforms designed to reduce unnecessary delay in the adoption process and cut the time children spend waiting to be placed in a loving family home are to be welcomed. The ability to fast-track assessments for foster carers who want to adopt is a particularly positive move.
"It is encouraging that the Government has recognised the need for additional funding to help councils build on the work they are already doing to improve the adoption system. However, councils understand best the difficulties they face locally, so it should be for them to decide how to spend the money to achieve improvements rather than this being dictated from the centre.
"Social workers still face significant challenges when it comes to finding a loving permanent home for the children in their care. They are working with a system that has five times more children waiting for adoption, than we have adopters.
"Everyone knows that it is much easier to find loving parents for a newborn child, but we still need more willing people to come forward to help councils find stable homes for groups of siblings, older children and those with health issues or disabilities.
"Where children are fostered it is absolutely right that the foster parents are able to, and encouraged to make decisions for that child such as whether a child has a haircut or takes part in a school trip. Making it clear that foster carers can take on this responsibility will not only free up social workers' time but also help those children to feel part of the family looking after them.
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Sarah Read, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333
18 September 2012