Select Committee on Adoption and Children Bill Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1

Post Adoption Support: Adoption Allowances

  Lowe and Murch's Research (Supporting Adoption; reframing the approach, BAAF 1999) which covered children adopted above the age of five years, showed that 61 per cent of the families responding to the postal questionnaire received an adoption allowance. However, figures from Barnardo's show that only 15 out of 52 (29 per cent) of children placed by them during 1998-99 and only 16 out of 68 (23.5 per cent) in 1999-2000 were eligible for adoption allowances. The postal survey in the Lowe and Murch study was conducted in Autumn 1994, so there is some possibility that the position has worsened. (While some of the children placed by Barnardo's may have been younger than those in the Lowe and Murch study, they were all children that the local authorities referring them to Barnardo's had considered hard to place.)

  The Lowe and Murch study gives examples of the inconsistencies encountered by adoptive families, including one where the family had adopted children from two different local authorities whose attitudes contrasted sharply; with one "(their) attitude is very much you're taking on older children, difficult children who need an awful lot of support and therefore you've got enough worries without having to worry about money and they were very generous and still are". With the other authority the same mother felt that she had to fight for support, even for a large sibling placement.

  BAAF's study Surveying Adoption (Ivaldi 2000) showed (not surprisingly) that single adopters were more likely to need an adoption allowance than couples (53 per cent compared with 14 per cent) although where adoption by foster carers was proposed there was little difference between the expected need for an allowance for single carers compared with couples (45 per cent compared with 39 per cent).

April 2001

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