The long wait for Calderdale children who need adopting

Waiting for a forever family
Waiting for a forever family

SOME children in Calderdale who are up for adoption seem to be waiting forever for their “forever families”.

It can take as long as 900 days to place a child - 260 days longer than the national average.

Calderdale Council’s spokeswoman for children and young people’s services, Coun Megan Swift, said: “We have taken steps to address the increasing number of children becoming looked after and the reducing number of individuals or families looking to adopt, in order to reduce the time it takes for us and the courts to deal with adoption cases.”

But there is no escaping the fact that waiting times deteriorated dramatically in 2011 and it could take up to three years to get them back on track.

The latest “Improvement Plan”, drawn up in response to official criticism of safeguarding, indicates that the council must recruit extra staff. Then it should be able to increase the number and percentage of children who wait less than 21 months between entering care and moving in with their adoptive family.

But that relies on finding suitable families earier in the adoption process.

In the year to March 2012, only 10 children in care were placed successfully for adoption, compared to 14 in each of the previous three years.

The 2011 figure of 900 days relates to the time over a three year average that it took between a child becoming looked after and being legally adopted by their new family. Prior to 2011, Calderdale consistently achieved this in just over 500 days.

The council will launch a campaign in November aimed at raising adoption awareness and challenging some of the myths around the process.