On 13th February 2020 the Lords debated a motion from Lord Russell of Liverpool, “That this House takes note of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence’s Report Investing in families: the Adoption Support Fund beyond 2020, published in July 2019”. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate, drawing on his own family experience:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I add my congratulations and thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, for securing this debate. I declare an interest: mine is one of the 50,000 or so families who have received support from the adoption support fund. I am immensely grateful for that support. It came at a very difficult time after the death of my wife, my children’s adoptive mother, six years ago, when they were very young. It was invaluable. That is the most important thing I have to say this afternoon. It is a privilege to be able to speak from first-hand experience as an adoptive parent and as someone who has benefited immeasurably from the ASF.
On 28th January 2020 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government, on support for looked after and adopted children. She and the Archbishop of York, Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked follow-up questions and the transcript is below:
Looked-after and Adopted Children Question
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review support for children looked after by local authorities and those children who are adopted.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education (Lord Agnew of Oulton) (Con): My Lords, we are committed to undertake a review of the care system. We are already implementing substantial reforms to improve outcomes for this most vulnerable group of children and young people. Alongside the reforms, we are providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adult and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. The review will allow us to go further in ensuring that children and young people have the support that they need. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester and Archbishop of York ask Government about support for looked after and adopted children”
On 9th January 2020, Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government, “following their ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, what plans they have to promote children’s rights and well-being across government departments in this Parliament”. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I have two particular groups of children in mind whose well-being is often compromised. The first are those who have a parent or other primary carer on the cusp of going into custody. What plans do Her Majesty’s Government have to ensure that sentencers, including magistrates, are aware of the new guidance from the Sentencing Council on this matter? On looked-after children, what intentions do Her Majesty’s Government have to further promote the vocation—it is a vocation—to become a foster carer or an adopter? Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government about children of prisoners, improving fostering and adoption”
On 18th June 2019 the House of Lords voted on an Opposition regret motion to the Government’s Children’s Homes etc. Inspection Fees, Childcare Fees, Adoption and Children Act Register (Amendment) Regulations 2019. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, took part in the vote:
On 14th June 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke during the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I am grateful that in the scheduling I find myself following the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, whose passion and commitment to those in care and care leavers is widely known.
In greeting the main thrust of this Bill in my comments on the gracious Speech, I welcomed the measures to strengthen adoption, and also said:
“We need to ensure that life chances for those in residential or foster care are as good as for all other children”.—[Official Report, 19/5/16; col. 41.]
A focus on long-term life outcomes is likely to lead to better decisions in placing children, including non-consensual adoption, but 75% of looked-after children are fostered, and it is no less important for them and for those in other forms of care that their long-term well-being outweighs any other considerations of economy or convenience. It is regrettable that the Bill has not addressed further issues of fostering and kinship care, as other noble Lords have already noted. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham welcomes direction of Government’s Children and Social Work Bill”
On 19th May 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the first day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. He focused his response on the Government’s life chances agenda, including poverty, children and welfare reform.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the gracious Speech makes several commitments to improving life chances for the most disadvantaged. There is also a renewed commitment,
“to support the development of a Northern Powerhouse”.
It is in welcoming these that I shall make most of my remarks.
Children need the best possible start in life. They need to be loved and cared for above all else. Where this is best found in an adoptive family, seeing this established as well and as quickly as possible is important, so I welcome the proposed measures here and look forward to the details. For some, care ends up as the best loving option. We need to ensure that life chances for those in residential or foster care are as good as for all other children. When the time comes to leave care, it is often traumatic. A move to provide care leavers with a personal adviser until they are 25 is therefore a very welcome proposal. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2016: Bishop of Durham responds on welfare, children and life chances”
On 8th December 2015 Baroness King of Bow asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the drop in the number of children being placed for adoption”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith asked a follow up question on measures in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, just last night in this Chamber, noble Lords discussed amendments to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill which sought to exclude kinship carers and adoptive parents from the two-child limit in tax credits. Given the worrying decline in the number of adoptions, this seems an eminently sensible proposal. If things go through as they are at the moment, this would act as a significant financial disincentive for some families to take on extra children as kinship carers or adoptive parents. This House was told last night that that is not being considered in the present Bill, but no reasons were given. Will the Minister explain why this very helpful suggestion is not being taken up? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about negative impact on adoption figures of Welfare Bill proposals”
On 18th November 2014, Baroness King of Bow asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent drop in referrals of children for adoption by local authorities. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, does the Minister agree that, whatever the assessment of these figures, there remains a task to be done concerning negative perceptions about adoption in this country? Does he agree with the observation of a judge in the adoption of one of my children that whereas conception is sometimes a biological accident, adoption is always an act of love? Does he agree that it is a noble task and a noble thing to do? What are the Government doing to promote adoption in that light?
Lord Nash: As is well known, the Government have in place a very active reform programme on adoption which has had quite a substantial effect. I agree entirely with the right reverend Prelate’s comments. I was interested to see recent research by Professor Julie Selwyn at Bristol which shows that only 3% of adoptions break down. I think there is cross-party consensus that where there is no option of staying with the birth family, a long-term relationship with loving adoptive parents who have been well scrutinised is clearly in the best interests of the child.