A new package of adoption regulations is due to come into force this month; aimed at speeding up the adoption process and reducing delays.

The changes are intended to reduce delays for black and ethnic minority children and give adopters a much more active role in finding children they might be suitable to adopt. The measures were outlined in an official report summarising responses to the consultation paper ‘Adoption: getting it right, making it work’.

The proposed changes include:

  • removing barriers by ensuring ethnicity is not prioritised over other factors – such as the ability to provide a stable, loving home
  • abolishing restrictions on the register so approved adopters can actively search for children they might wish to adopt
  • introducing new rules requiring councils actively to consider fostering for adoption places where appropriate
  • placing a mandatory requirement on all councils to tell prospective adopters about their entitlements.

The government has also introduced the adoption passport, which sets out the rights and entitlements of adoptive parents, and the new online adoption maps, which allow potential adopters to find out more information about services in their area.

It is hoped that the reforms will mean that potential adopters can play a bigger role in the process and that unnecessary delays are eradicated. This in turn will mean that the process of placing children with a loving and supportive family is speeded up and this can only be a good thing.

This is particularly important at the moment with the number of adoptions and potential adopters on the rise.

The changes have been praised by the children and families minister Edward Timpson who has said that he is determined to do everything in his power to make sure the 6,000 children waiting for adoption are offered safe and caring homes.

If you would like any advice in relation to making arrangements for children, or indeed any other aspect of family law, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced family law solicitors.