New national adoption service to launch in Wales

The adoption process in Wales is to be speeded up under a new national service being introduced later this year.

The National Adoption Service for Wales will start in November, and aims to improve the way prospective adopting parents and children are matched up, as well as reducing the number who end up in the care system.

The service is a key part of the Welsh government’s social services bill, which received Royal Assent last month.

Gwenda Thomas, social services deputy minister, said: “I recognise and am still concerned with delays in the adoption system and the potential lasting harm this can have on children, robbing them of their best chance of the love and stability of a new family.

“I refuse to accept that children can be left to drift in the care system and I expect to see an upward trend over the next few years as the National Adoption Service drives up standards and performance.”

The deputy minister said the new service would deliver better collaboration and joint commissioning of adoption services and more efficient uses of resources for the provision of training and assessment.

It would improve he matching process, through the increased use of voluntary adoption agencies, which for the first time will be allowed to access a free Wales-wide database of children waiting to be adopted and approved prospective adopters.

The first change to be introduced is a new secure adoption register, which is being run by British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) Cymru.

Director Wendy Keidan added: “The register will proactively contribute to identifying ‘forever’ families at the earliest opportunity for children in Wales waiting for a loving adoptive home.”