Social Services Bill to Set Up National Adoption Body; CHARITIES WELCOME PROPOSALS BUT CALL FOR FURTHER SUPPORT
Byline: JULIA MCWATT Health Correspondent email@example.com
CHILDREN who need a new permanent family are to be helped by a National Adoption Service being established as part of legislation the Welsh Government says will "transform" social services.
The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill, now undergoing scrutiny following its introduction to the National Assembly, aims to address issues faced by public services, including changing demographics and economic challenges. Under the legislation powers for safeguarding of children and adults will be strengthened while national eligibility criteria will be introduced so people are assessed on what they need, rather than just on what services are available locally.
The Bill also introduces equivalent rights for carers so that those who care for someone such as an elderly or disabled relative or friend would get similar rights to the people they care for.
The introduction of the National Adoption Service will see local authorities come together to tackle inconsistencies in service delivery.
The legislation follows a report by the National Assembly's Children and Young People Committee last November, which claimed the remit of the national service would be too small - and said it should have responsibility for a wide range of aspects of adoption to improve support for families.
Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, said: "This Bill is about giving people a stronger voice and real control over the social care services they use, and to help meet their changing needs. It will drive the development of new models of service that maintain and improve the well-being of people in need.
"There will be a stronger focus through the Bill on preventative and early intervention services, based on greater partnership working and integration of services between local authorities and partners.
"This Bill will help us all tackle the many challenges facing social services in Wales but will also allow us all to seize the opportunities before us."
Yvonne Rodgers, director of Barnardo's Cymru, said: "It is vital for significant numbers of vulnerable children and young people that we have an adoption system in Wales which is sensitive to their needs and which provides them with the best possible care within secure and loving families. …