Headlines: October 15th, 2002

An extra £70 million is to be put into services which help and support adopted children. The money, which will be spread over three years from next April,is part of the government’s initiative to expand the provision of adoption services within a new framework to be unveiled later this year .Announcing the increase Health Minister Jacqui Smith said the government wanted to ensure more children in care were adopted by loving families, but she recognised that many children had complicated histories and needed additional support.

“The £70 million will be ring fenced to ensure it promotes and sustains a much needed growth of adoption support which will be provided within our new national framework for adoption support services, ” the Minister said.”The framework will be issued for consultation later this year. We need to see more and better services to help improve the success of adoption placements and encourage more people to come forward to adopt looked after children, ” she added.

Support services are a key part of the Adoption and Children Bill, which overhauls the 1976 Adoption Act and seeks to modernise the legal framework for adoption. The new Bill will, for the first time, place a clear duty on local social services departments to make and take part in arrangements to provide adoption support, including financial support.

The £70 million comes on top of £66 million provided to help local councils improve their adoption services between 2001-2 and 2003-4.