A cross-party group of MPs and Peers will push for change to ensure adoptive children and families receive the support they need. The new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Adoption & Permanence will be chaired by Rachael Maskell MP.
Approximately three-quarters of adopted children are removed from their birth parents because of abuse and neglect. As a result of their early experiences, they are much more likely than their peers to struggle with education, relationships and employment.
Ms Maskell said: “This new APPG is a very important opportunity to advocate for some of the most vulnerable children in society and I am delighted to be leading it. Adopted children have had a very tough start in life and they deserve the attention of policy makers to ensure they are able to build a better future.”
As Chair of the APPG Ms Maskell went on to say: “I want to ensure that families receive the very support they need pre and post adoption, and will ensure that the APPG brings a laser focus to the challenges facing parents and children. Government has a crucial role in adopting global best practice and resourcing essential services to build strong, loving and resilient families, and the APPG on Adoption and Permanence will provide an important vehicle to take the voice of adopters, kinship carers and young people into Government.”
The APPG has determined a number of priorities for the group’s initial activities, one of which is the future of the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) – a central government fund which helps adoptive families to access therapy. Although the fund recently received an £12m boost, the government is currently only committed to it until March 2020. Research from 2017 revealed that a quarter of adoptive parents believe support funded by the ASF prevented their placement from breaking down and their children returning to care.
Charities Adoption UK and Home for Good will provide the secretariat support for the group, and are well-placed to engage adoptive families directly in the work of the APPG.
Adoption UK’s chief executive, Dr Sue Armstrong Brown said: “This APPG is sorely needed to serve our society’s most vulnerable children, ensuring their experiences inform political debate and policy development. Adoption is a long rehabilitation from trauma, lasting throughout childhood and beyond. We need a system which recognises this and delivers help for families whenever and for as long as they need it.”
Home for Good chief executive, Phil Green added: “Adopted children and their families deserve our very best. Home for Good is delighted to be supporting this APPG because we recognise that if we have grand ambitions for the lives of children, we need to have grand ambitions for services that exist to serve them.”