Adoption and fostering services in Scotland performing well despite lengthy waits

A quarter of children up for adoption in Scotland at the end of 2017 had to wait more than a year to be placed with families, according to the Care Inspectorate.

It found 97% of care experienced by children that year was graded good or higher in its latest report into Scotland’s services, however, with adoption and fostering services said to be performing well.

The regulatory body found 10 fewer young people were placed with new adoptive families between 2016 and 2017 compared to the previous two years, while the number of households approved to be able to adopt children fell from 326 to 317.

Children in foster care placements also dropped by more than 100, down from 5,423 in 2016 to 5,315 by the end of 2017.

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: “Our job is to work closely with local authorities and independent organisations who provide adoption and fostering services.

“These services play a vital role in assessing, approving and supporting carers and prospective adoptive parents in caring for some of our most vulnerable children.

“From our inspections, we know that the vast majority of these services perform very well.

“We are also well aware that tremendous work has gone on across the sector to innovate and make a real difference to the lives of children.

“By highlighting good practice and identifying areas which can improve, we help ensure that all children can get the best possible start in life.”

The report found 43% of children up for adoption as of December 31 2007 had at least one sibling but just 28% of potential adopters were approved to adopt a sibling group of two and less than 5% were able adopt three.

Mr Macleod added: “We also know that more high quality fostering and adoption places are needed for vulnerable children, and that too many children are separated from their siblings when a place is found for them.

“It is important that children in care are supported to form permanent and loving relationships as quickly as possible, and an important part of this is almost always maintaining the strong bond between siblings.

“Sisters and brothers are often a great support and comfort at times of crisis, especially for young children.”

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said: “I welcome this positive report which shows the number of adopted looked after children continues to increase year on year.

“Scotland’s Adoption Register was established to increase adoption, particularly those who are more difficult to place, and it is giving even more children the chance to build the meaningful relationships that so many of us take for granted.

“Similar numbers of families are receiving post-adoption support as last year, which we know is more important for many families than financial support.

“I am also pleased to see the vast majority of adoption services and foster care providers are rated as good or better, which will help improve the long-term outcomes for each child.”

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