It's been a while since I wrote anything about our second adoption. That's mostly because there has been very little to write about. Our Local Authority seems to be having difficulties with the number of staff vs the number of adopters they are trying to get through the system.
The result is delays!
So far we've attended our preparation course and are waiting for a Social Worker to be allocated to us. We had a phone call a couple of weeks ago from the Local Authority to say that there would be a delay in allocating us a Social Worker because they were waiting for the right Social Worker to become available for us. Interesting wording we thought.
During that phone call the Social Worker said that they wanted to push on with getting our medicals and references completed so that we could at least get some of the paperwork ready. She then realised that we hadn't yet completed the application form to enable us to be officially invited to be assessed. I wanted to sigh and shake my head in exasperation at this point but I used to work for this department and know how short-staffed and pressurised everyone is. I feel we have to cut them some slack. I'm not sure I would have been able to do this on our first adoption though when the urgency was much greater. Instead I'm going to focus on getting our PAR as ready as I possibly can so that we pick up the baton easily once things are up and running again.
We are actually lucky because our LA has contacted all the prospective adopters who attended the prep course the month after ours and informed them that they are unable to process their applications due to the staff shortages and recommending that they approach neighbouring LAs. All this in a time when David Cameron is politically promoting that the adoption process be speeded up in the UK. I do wonder if he really has a clue what it's like for everyone involved in the adoption process and what the outcomes of these changes are going to be. By "everyone" I mean the children; the Social Workers; the Foster Carers; the prospective-Adopters and everyone else working hard to find permanent homes for children in care. How on earth can you promote the improvement and speeding up of a system in a time of austerity and cutbacks to public funding? I'm not that much of a maths whizz but even I can see that you need more money to improve a service, not less! Of course you could hypothesise that if you invest more money in employing additional Social Workers then you could potentially get a cost saving from less money being required to fund foster care because more children could theoretically be placed into adoptive homes. Just a thought....
Interesting though if you read between the lines (see below) the improvements to the system appear to be focused on the matching process (including ethnic matching and the foster/adopt process) and not the actual approval process:
"The government has announced three changes which it says will speed up the system:
- Local authorities will be required to reduce delays and not delay adoptions "for the perfect match"
- Legal changes to make it easier for children to be fostered by people approved for adoption so that a child might be fostered by someone who goes on to adopt them
- If an adoptive match is not found locally in three months, local authorities will have to put the child on the national adoption register"
This leaves many people waiting frustratingly long periods of time to get on prep courses; be allocated Social Workers; and actually be approved so that they can benefit from the speeded up matching process. It's all very well speeding up the matching process but that's not particularly useful if there aren't the approved adopters waiting to be matched! It doesn't really take a genius to see that and I'm definitely not a genius!