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Lots of coverage this morning on plans for greater transparency on how councils perform in placing children for adoption and their standards for the children that remain in care.

The Times has an interview (£) with the Prime Minister on the subject.

He says:

“You do have to be careful. If you select one figure, one target, councils will aim to meet that. You’ll find they are doing very well on, say, having babies under one adopted but then their fostering
stops working.

“I see [the new policy] as a range of ‘floor standards’ including the educational attainment of children in care, placement stability, proportion of children adopted from care and the timeliness of adoption.”

He adds:

“We need to publish the facts and figures. I know some people don’t like league tables, but I don’t care. Let’s publish the data and let’s compare performance. It’s worked in education.”

“Figures for court cases are chilling. Some judges are looking for evidential standards that just don’t exist. That is certainly the story I get anecdotally. The judge has a huge responsibility, but endless calls for more information and more reports to try and close off every avenue of concern means the longer children are left in care, the worse the outcomes get. I know it is a cliché, but don’t let the best be the enemy of the good.

So what will the adoption league tables show as regards timeliness?

Sky News reports:

It now takes on average two years and seven months to complete the process from the moment a child is deemed suitable for adoption, to the point where they are placed with a family.

But there are huge variations in different parts of the country.

According to Government figures, 100% of all children in care in York were placed with new parents within a year. Councils in South Tyneside and Hartlepool also had a swift process.

But Derby, Nottinghamshire, and Brent were highlighted as being slow, with the London borough of Hackney only completing 48% of adoptions within a year.

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