Wales politics

New all-Wales adoption service to be launched

Adult and child holding hands
Image caption The new national adoption service for Wales will be launched in the late autumn

A new national service aimed at speeding up the adoption process in Wales will be launched later in the year, it has been announced.

The National Adoption Service for Wales will start in November.

It pledges to improve how prospective adopting parents and children are matched up, and reduce 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.

"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," said the social services deputy minister, Gwenda Thomas.

"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."

'Forever' families

The deputy minister said there needed to be a "step change in the way adoption services are delivered".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJohn Wilkinson told Radio Wales' Peter Johnson the adoption process took his family one year

She said the new service would deliver:

  • Better collaboration and joint commissioning of adoption services
  • More efficient uses of resources for the provision of training and assessment
  • Improvement in the matching process, through the increased use of voluntary adoption agencies

The first change to be introduced is a new secure adoption register.

For the first time it will allow adoption agencies in Wales to access a free Wales-wide database of children waiting to be adopted and approved prospective adopters.

The register 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."

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