There have been some good themes from The Times on ways to place more children for adoption currently in the care system. There should not be delay to avoid transracial placements. There should not be an automatic decision to keep older children in care. There should be concurrent planning. This means that at the same time as assessing whether the child should be returned to his birth mother (for instance whether she has come off heroin) there should be plans set in place for the child to be adopted in the event that the decision is made not to return him to his birth mother. This avoids delay. The Times report (£) how Harrow Council do this using an agency called Coram. That's fine. But councils don't need to pay Coram to apply that sensible approach.

The Times also looks at the sharp variantions in local councils in terms of the number of "Looked After Children" (children in care) placed for adoption. This is complicated as thereare several different measures that can be considered.

However if you follow this link and click on table LAA1 you can see the number of Looked After Children for each council in recent years. That is the ultimate measure. Harrow had 175 in 2006 and 160 in 2010. My own council, Hammersmith and Fulham, has seen the number fall from 390 in 2006 to 255 in 2010. Interms of direction of travel that is among the best in the country – most councils have seen numbers go up. But in the same table we can see that there is still some way to go. As a rate per 10,000 children we have 82, Wandsworth have 41. They have a total of 205 children in care.


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