HL Deb 17 June 2002 vol 636 cc60-1WA
The Earl of Listowel

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the range of annual expenditure incurred on post-adoption support by those local authorities which provide a full post-adoption service; and [HL4573]

What is the most a local authority has spent on post-adoption over the course of one year; and [HL4574]

What is the average cost of supporting the family of an adoptive child over a period of 10 years for local authorities in which a full range of post adoption support is provided; and [HL4576]

What level of post-adoption support will be necessary to attract sufficient adopters for the Government to attain their target for increased adoptions. [HL4577]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Information on expenditure specifically for adoption support is not collected centrally. However, in 1999–2000 local authorities' gross expenditure on adoption including financial support was £56 million. This figure rose to £82 million for adoption services in 2000–01.

We are committed to making adoption work more clearly, more consistently and more fairly. We recognise that better, more comprehensive, adoption support, including financial support, delivered when it is needed will help to improve the success of adoptive placements. We know that the existing provision of adoption support is inconsistent.

That is why in our White Paper Adoption: a new approach we undertook to develop a framework for adoption support services aimed at developing a more consistent service for everyone affected by adoption. A consultation document setting out our proposals for the provision of adoption support services, including financial support, will be published shortly for full public consultation. A copy of the White Paper is available in the Library.

The Adoption and Children Bill, which has completed its parliamentary stages in another place, was introduced in this House on 21 May. The Bill places a new clear duty on local authorities to make and participate in arrangements to provide adoption support services. This new duty will tackle the current inconsistency in the availability of adoption support services across the country. The Bill provides that the local authority's adoption service must be designed to meet the needs of children who may be adopted, their parents and guardians, prospective adopters and adopted people, their adoptive parents, birth parents and former guardians. Local authorities will also be required to carry out an assessment of need for adoption support where such an assessment is requested by a person affected by adoption.

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