Comment is Free - Guardian - comments closed
The Guardian kindly invited me to write for their blog area which I did (it is linked). Because they couldn't moderate such a legally sensitive area over the weekend they have shut down comments.
One by someone with a pseudonym "niceday99" is well informed and deserves a proper response - to the technical points made.
As I understand it, you're basically suggesting that the adoption system of 1999 was doing just about ok, albeit pretty borderline, but that the introduction of an adoption target overloaded it. But why was it "creaking" in the first place? Was it a case of lack of proper checks and balances, or was it simply a funding issue?
It is the failure of the proper checks and balances rather than funding
Adoption is an expensive process and the number of adoptions will be limited by the resources available to purchase and support adoptive placements. In other words, give local authorities more money to fund this (up front cash, not paying by results by the way) and more adoptions will take place, even without a national target. This is basically what happened.
The statistical evidence is that a new age cohort of children were taken into care then adopted. It is not the case that the children "languishing in care" were adopted.
You could be referring to Local PSAs (and if you are then please be specific)
It is the LPSA adoption targets totalling a reward of £36 million that were part of driving towards greater numbers of adoptions. However, the management and inspection pressure from then CSCI now Ofsted also acts to achieve the same result.
The issue was one of changing priorities. That can be achieved in a number of ways.
If LPSAs were met, more money was provided - but do your sums, would this bonus cash outweigh the extra costs to the local authority of snatching all these extra children and having them adopted?
I do have some of the "spend to save" plans of local authorities to obtain the (L)PSA monies.
LPSA money is a drop in the ocean by comparison.
The objective of LPSA funding was a culture change
"babies, known as "adoptible commodities" in the profession"
What is your source for this?
Reported conversations at Adoption Panels