|Barnardo's chief attacks "inordinate" length of adoption proceedings|
|Monday, 24 January 2011|
| The outgoing chief executive of Barnardo’s has strongly criticised the “inordinate” amount of time that adoption proceedings take. |
In an interview with The Guardian, Martin Narey claimed that adoptions commonly take more than two years to complete – even in those cases where social workers make early interventions.
"The legal process takes an inordinate amount of time, largely because courts repeatedly adjourn until they have taken a very large number of expert assessments that say the same thing," he argued.
The Barnardo’s chief executive called for adoption rates to be increased dramatically. "Only 70 babies were adopted last year compared with 4,000 in 1976,” he said. “We need that figure to get back into the thousands so we need to quadruple it over the next few years – and quadruple it again. Early adoptions are particularly successful and yet it remains out of fashion."
Narey also attacked “prejudice” among some local authorities and adoption agencies towards white parents adopting minority ethnic children.
He said the law was very clear about adoptions. “A child should not stay in care for an undue length of time while waiting for adoptive parents of the same ethnicity,” he told The Guardian. "But the reality is that black, Asian and mixed-race children wait three times longer than white children."
The Barnardo’s chief said he was pleased that it was increasingly accepted that children should be taken into care if they were living in "horrific situations".
Narey’s replacement is Anne Marie Carrie, the former deputy chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea family and children's services.