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Adoption league tables “absurd” and “simplistic” BASW warns

BASW has described the publication of adoption league tables to identify local authorities deemed not to be adopting enough children out of care as “crude and simplistic”

Speaking on BBC Breakfast News this morning BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson said it was “absurd” that Hackney Borough Council was bottom of the list despite being identified by the Munro review as a leading innovator in working to keep children and families together.

“It’s an absurd approach, a crude, simplistic approach to a complex issue. This overlooks the fact adoption is merely one tool in the box. The local authority rated lowest in the league tables, Hackney, is a council that has an outstanding approach to supporting families and children.

“Not all children need to be adopted, actually a very small proportion need to be adopted. Adoption is only a small part of the system. This is a government which until a couple of weeks ago was saying we should move away from central control, so this is a regrettable move – they should trust social workers and allow us to do our jobs properly.”

BASW offered more support to a new campaign, ‘Give a Child a Home’, which aims to encourage more people to come forward to foster and adopt.

Hilton Dawson said:

“We’re pleased to see that the Government is widening its focus from just adoption to include fostering, and also ensuring that children in care get a good education and have decent prospects in life once they leave the care system.

“This is a step in the right direction but we want to see a cultural change in how the Government views the entire care system, to give sustained priority to the needs of all children in care, rather than simply focusing on a few headline statistics.

“Children in care and care leavers must have an allocated social worker who is able to spend time developing a supportive relationship with them and who will be there for them long term.

“Currently, the system does not promote this as it is all about short term measures and cutting corners. The Government must not also forget that they should be putting equal energy into preventing children coming into the care system in the first place. Early intervention tends to create better outcomes for a child, rather than trying to improve their prospects once they are in the care system.”