Government defeated in Lords over scrapping of adoption register for England

The Government has been defeated in the Lords over the scrapping of the adoption register for England.

Peers voted by a majority of 85 to “regret” the move, warning it could damage the prospects of finding homes for “harder to place” children.

Voting was 217 to 132 for a motion saying ministers had failed to justify allowing the adoption register to lapse from March 31 this year.

For the Liberal Democrats, Lord Storey (pictured) said that for some children the register provided a last chance.

Allowing the register to “disappear” without transition arrangements being put in place was a “shameful example of the Government pulling back from doing something positive”.

Lord Storey accused the Government of “washing its hands of hundreds of the most vulnerable children”.

For Labour, Lord Watson of Invergowrie said ministers had jumped the gun and acted precipitately by closing the register, which was introduced in 2002 and used by social workers and adopters to find suitable matches.

But Education minister Lord Agnew of Oulton defended the decision, insisting the Government was creating a network of regional adoption agencies to ensure children were placed without delay.

Lord Agnew said research found that although the register had been useful in matching children with adopters, practitioners did not “favour” it, instead wanting to be provided with up to date accessible information.

Over recent years the vast majority of adoption agencies had chosen to pay subscriptions to alternative services despite the register being free.

He assured peers: “Children are not being left behind following this decision.

“There is no gap in provision.

“Children are and will continue to be matched with caring families.”

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