22 October 2015
Article by Sian Thomas, National Assembly for Wales Research Service
Too old at aged 4? That is the theme of this week’s National Adoption Week, when those agencies involved in adoption services are highlighting the current shortage of adoptive parents who adopt older children. Along with children in sibling groups and those with additional needs, older children are likely to wait longer to be adopted.
New figures released today by the National Adoption Service for Wales show that it takes more than double the amount of time to place children aged four and above than those aged under four. Since June 2014 the average length of time it takes to place children aged four and older in Wales is 15 months, compared to an average time of seven months for younger children.
This is also the week that the National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee has chosen to launch its follow up inquiry into adoption services in Wales. Back in 2012, the Committee examined a wide range of factors relating to those aspects of adoption which are devolved, including:
- How well the systems to recruit, assess and prepare adopter parents were working;
- Whether the right information and support was provided to children and young people before the adoption, including access to quality life-story work; and
- How well children, young people and families were supported after the adoption took place, including whether social services, schools, and mental health services provided support when it was needed.
Since the Committee published the report on its findings in November 2012, a new National Adoption Service has been established in Wales.
The Committee is now asking for people’s views about what progress has been made since it made its recommendations for change in 2012.