Thursday, 15 December 2011

Panorama: The truth about adoption

Last night’s Panorama programme about children who are waiting for adoption, was very powerful and deeply moving – and a huge indictment of the adoption system in England.

The six Coventry children featured have all waited a long time for adoptive families, many years in some cases. Although all are with wonderful foster parents, their situations are tragic. The processes of getting children adopted are shown to be not only extraordinarily lengthy but also traumatic and damaging for all concerned. There is a lot of harrowing pain on view. These children (and their birth parents) experience unimaginable loss, often repeatedly.

We are told that there are 65,000 children in care in this country. Seventy-five per cent of them are placed for adoption, but in only a tiny fraction of cases will this be successful. Though not for want of trying. The social workers on the programme come out as heroes, battling against an appalling system. The government has plans to overhaul adoption processes. Everyone who watches the programme will fervently hope they are successful, and soon.

This programme is required viewing for anyone with personal or professional concerns about looked-after children and adoption. It was extremely pertinent to me, because of my training on looked-after children and young people. The BBC has a very useful list of contacts for people affected in any way by the programme.