Dear Mr Timpson,
Initially I was going to thank you for your letter but as it was never actually sent to me I am not sure that I was supposed to receive it. In fact I wonder exactly who the letter was for, maybe you could explain why a letter addressed Dear Adopter was never actually forwarded onto adopters. The cynic in me thinks it was written for those in your party, the adoption departments and the press and as I write this I think I can understand why you didn't write to us individually, that would mean huge numbers of responses from those of us actually living on the frontline of adoption, no doubt asking more questions or pointing out the flaws in the changes to the adoption process.
Recruitment and Matching
I am sure that fast tracking the adoption process for those who have already adopted will be of a huge benefit, but, I am truly concerned about the speeding up of the adoption process, meaning that potential adopters can be approved within 6 months. It takes 9 months for a baby to develop in the womb before they are born, giving their parents that 9 months to prepare themselves for a complete change to their lives. Inevitably those parents will be supported by family and friends many who can share support through their own experience yet in adoption you want parents to be ready to take on a child that will have been traumatised within 6 months and as there is no support or training provided by the adoption services for their families and social groups to help adapt to this huge change they can be of no "real" support - I have found that unless you are actually living it you really can't understand it. Many of our children need so much more than a loving and stable home. I have found that at best I have to be constantly pro-active in ensuring support for my son and know that at worst adopters have to fight for what their children need.
The statistics of adoption breakdowns from 2000 to 2011 show to be anywhere between 3% and 25% depending on what you read! but most studies show that the breakdowns tend to happen during the teenage years, what will those figures be between 2018 and 2028 when the 5000 children who have just been adopted reach their teenage years. Without a strong enough foundation of knowledge and expectation for potential adopters and if the right support is not in place once children have been adopted I fear for the difficulties that could affect many families, leading to the heartbreak of a breakdown.
Adoption Support, Education and Health.
Wonderful, more support is to be put in place, the pupil premium to help support our children in school, free nursery places and access to therapeutic services, although we adopters are saving the government a small fortune not only on foster care, which costs them anywhere between £116 and £750 per child per week depending on the circumstances (that's in excess of £29 million based on £116 for the £5000 children adopted) but also on additional costs that these children could potentially create as they grow up, 40% of the under 21s on prison were in care as children.
Please, please do not just throw money at this situation, what we need is for you to ask not only us as the adopters but also the adoptees what is it that they need and want. For me just as a start I want all staff in schools to have to take part in therapeutic training so that they understand how to handle our children, I want access to CAHMS to be immediate when required and for the families that need it to be able to have the support as often as necessary and I want as much post adoption training and support that I can get but to do it, it needs to be when my husband or parents can do the childcare so a week long course doesn't work, maybe one day a week or a Saturday, we have to think outside the box.
We must share the trauma of adoption as much as the joy so that society understands why our children have different needs and don't isolate or exclude us or them.
So Mr Timpson you have the power in your hands to actually make a difference, please interact with us not via a foolish letter but face to face find out what we need and spend the £19 million wisely.
Here is the link to the Children's Minister Mr Timpson's Letter