How Social Workers Put the Block on Adoptions
Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY
DAMNING figures yesterday revealed the scale of social workers' neglect in finding new families for children in their care.
They showed that, in 11 local authority areas, a youngster's chances of being adopted within a year are one-in-100 or less.
Under another 21 councils, they have a one-in-50 chance.
The worst borough, Ealing in West London, managed to find adoptive parents for only one of the 393 children in its care during 1997.
The figures also show how the overall numbers of children are plummeting in the face of what critics claim is the 'anti-adoption culture' of social workers. There were 2,500 in 1993 but only 1,900 in 1997.
The statistics also explode claims that the drop is because fewer single mothers now give up their babies. In fact, over those years the adoption rate fell three times faster than the number of births outside marriage rose.
The figures, acquired by the informal all-party Commons adoption group, came from information given by councils to the Commons library.
They are not complete because some authorities insist on the right to keep them secret.
Home Secretary Jack Straw has been pressing for adoption league tables similar to those for schools.
Tory MP Julian Brazier, spokesman for the adoption group, yesterday reiterated his call to strip badly-performing councils of their right to run adoption services and allow them to be handed over to a voluntary agency or neighbouring authorities. …