Britain to overhaul dated adoption laws


London - The British government yesterday announced the biggest overhaul of adoption laws in 25 years aimed at increasing the number of children who find homes with new parents, Rachel Donnelly writes.

Proposals contained in the government's White Paper on adoption are designed to make the process easier and quicker and increase by 40 per cent over the next five years the number of adopted children. At present only 6,000 children each year are adopted, compared with more than 20,000 in the 1960s.

The government also wants children to find homes with a new family within six months of arriving in permanent care. Announcing the reforms, which will cost about u £66.5 million sterling, the Health Secretary, Mr Alan Milburn, said all children needed the stability and love of a permanent family. "And they need that stability as quickly as possible. That is not the case at present. Children stay in the care system far longer than they should. Too often they are passed from pillar to post," he said.

Other proposals include the establishment of an independent appeals system for people turned down as adoptive parents, lessening restrictions on placing children with parents of a different race. There are no plans in the paper to extend eligibility to adopt beyond married couples or individuals.