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We Must Do All We Can to Speed Up the Adoption Process

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In my eyes adopting a child is one of the most amazing things someone can ever do. To give a child a loving and stable family life is a gift beyond compare.

For England's 6,000 children hoping to be adopted, every day is a desperate wait. Another day spent longing for the love and support that, through no fault of their own, they are currently being denied.

Everyone involved with these brave children wants to see them all get the family they deserve. To make sure each of their dreams come true we need a system that gives them the chance at a new life as quickly and effectively as possible.

Earlier this week the government announced that videos and photos of children on the adoption register will be made available for those approved to adopt. This is the latest change to an adoption process that has undergone a radical shift in recent years.

At last prospective parents are playing a role in the matching of children to families as part of a more open and transparent system.

Barnardo's adoption services are already implementing a similar concept which is proving its worth. We encourage our approved adopters to attend Adoption Activity Days in order to meet children in a relaxed environment with child-centred themes, like Pirate Day or Outer Space Day.

Currently on average one in five hard-to-place children who attend these days find a permanent family. This is extremely successful compared with other adoption methods.

Social workers report that creating a bond between child and prospective adopter is vital. Being able to see a child giggle and play helps to create immediate chemistry, resulting in adoptions that might not otherwise have occurred.

All change involves some risk. Children waiting to be adopted are extremely vulnerable and any rejection could weigh heavily on them. It goes without saying that the strict safeguards announced must be adhered to and the children's needs, and most importantly their expectations, must be prioritised and managed.

There have been some critics of this new approach but at the end of the day we all want to see more kids being adopted. Giving prospective parents access to the register can light the spark of human connection. If that helps more children find the right family we should encourage and support it.

We must do all we can to speed up the process and make it easier for children to find a loving home.

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