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13/07/2009

Royaume-Uni. Un enfant sur 15 ne réussit pas à créer des liens avec sa famille adoptive.

Number of adopted children returned to care has doubled in five years.jpgLe nombre d'enfants adoptés dont les nouvelles familles se décomposent ont doublé au cours des cinq dernières années, indiquent les nouveaux chiffres d'aujourd'hui.
Ils suggèrent que près d'un enfant sur 15 qui sont adoptés par les nouveaux parents ne parviennent pas à créer des liens avec leurs familles et finissent par retourner dans le système des soins et de placement.



Number of adopted children returned to care has doubled in five years


The number of adopted children who have been returned to care homes because their new parents cannot cope with them has doubled in the past five years.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the number has increased by a third in the past year alone as parents struggle with often challenging children who have suffered years of neglect or abuse in their natural families.

Going back into care after living with an adoptive family is a traumatic experience for children, and for the adoptive parents who have to accept their only chance of having a family has gone. It is also a huge cost to an already over-stretched system with the children likely to need expensive specialist care.

The increase in breakdowns comes despite a fall in the number of children being adopted. Only 4,637 children were adopted in 2007, the lowest number since 1999.

The data on breakdowns is in a survey of local authorities, conducted by More4 News and shared with The Times. More4 News will broadcast its special report tonight at 8pm.

Experts say the figures show that many children are being left to suffer at the hands of dysfunctional natural parents for too long before being taken into care by social workers. By the time they are adopted, many have severe emotional or behavioural problems.

Local authorities are not obliged to keep any data on adoption breakdowns and the vast majority of those contacted by More4 News had no figures or only partial records. However, according to the numbers kept by 92 out of 450 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, 57 children were returned to care in 2008-09 compared with 26 in 2004-05. If the pattern is repeated across the country, it means more than 250 children were returned to the care system last year.

The Adoption Act of 2002 was supposed to speed up adoption so that children do not have to languish in the care system for too long. However, the bigger problem may be that they are allowed to stay with their natural parents for too long before social workers remove them from their home.

Lord Laming, Britain’s foremost expert on child protection, highlighted this issue in the wake of the Baby P tragedy. He urged social workers to be far more realistic about parents’ ability to turn their lives around and to act more decisively when there are problems.

The figures are also a reflection of the changing face of adoption. Before the 1970s, most adopted children were babies born to single mothers, but today more than three quarters have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. The increase in alcohol and drug abuse among parents is also a growing factor in care proceedings, with parents often being given several chances to break their habit before children are removed.

According to data provided to More4 News by the local authorities, last year only four per cent of adopted children were babies, with the majority aged between one and four. A quarter were aged between five and nine.

Adoption UK, the charity which supports adoptive families, said not enough was being done to help parents to care for a challenging child.

Jonathan Pearce, of Adoption UK, said: “The figures starkly illustrate the difficulties and complexity of modern-day adoptions from care and also highlight the lack of support for adoptive families in their challenging task of being therapeutic parents for traumatised children.”

The charity says the system is still too preoccupied with the intense and lengthy approvals process for would-be adoptive parents, rather than preparing them in advance and helping them afterwards.


Case study
‘I had naively believed in love’


Initially, the adoption seemed to be going well. But Kate discovered that Alex, whom she had adopted when the child was four, had an attachment disorder and heard voices.

“She never left my side, ever,” Kate says. “She couldn’t watch television, she couldn’t play, she didn’t want to play with other children. There was nothing that she could do by herself.”

Alex’s behaviour deteriorated rapidly and she began to torture the family cat. She tried to kill her rabbit. Social services had warned Kate that her daughter’s background was “as bad as it gets”. Alex’s natural mother was an alcoholic and a drug addict.

“I naively believed that with enough love and enough attention and security we could make it all better for her,” Kate says. “But it became a nightmare caring for a child who isn’t attached to you.”

(All names have been changed))


Source: Times. 10 juillet 2009.


One in 15 children fail to bond with their adopted families according to new figures



Numbers of adopted children whose new families break down have doubled in the past five years, new figures indicated today.

They suggest that around one in 15 children who are adopted by new parents fail to bond with their new families and end up back in the state care system.

The growth in the level of failed adoptions is the latest blow to hit the system for finding new families for children who cannot live with their own parents which has been surrounded in deepening controversy for a decade.

Only slightly over 3,000 children a year now win new families by adoption from the state care system.

Numbers have dropped despite Tony Blair's 2002 adoption law which was intended to push up adoption totals back towards the high levels of the 1970s.

Many of the children who are adopted from care are not babies but older children who have been put up for adoption by social workers only after years of failed attempts to persuade their birth parents to look after them properly.

Most have spent years in care homes or living with a succession of temporary foster parents.

The Labour adoption law did, however, open the door for more single parents and gay couples to adopt children.

The new figures, gleaned from freedom of information requests, show that 57 children were returned to the state care system in the year that ended in April following failed adoptions from 92 local authorities with children's services departments.

The figure compared with 26 in 2004/05.

It suggests that among the 300 councils with children's social services there may have been almost 200 failed adoptions last year from around 3,200 adoptions of children from the care system.

The rising numbers suggest adoption may be coming too late to help many children. In the 1970s, when there were more than 20,000 adoptions from care every year, most adoptions were of babies given up by single parents.

But generous new benefits and housing for single mothers and the growing suspicion of adoption among social workers - who have been open about their dislike of the idea of supplying childless middle class women with families - cut numbers down heavily during the 1980s.

Many couples find it hard to pass the tests set for adoptive parents, which weed out those considered too old, too unfit, those with undesirable habits like smokers, and those with undesirable views on matters like race equality.

However social workers have been anxious to attract new kinds of adoptive parents since Mr Blair's law was passed.

They have been on the lookout for more single parents, sometimes on the basis that children who have grown up with single mothers should be placed with adoptive single mothers.

A series of Roman Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to stop finding homes for children because they object to placing them with gay couples, and in May, the main state-financed adoption agency, the British Association for Adoption and Foster, was forced to apologise after a publication called opponents of gay adoption 'retarded homophobes'.

Author on adoption and the family Patricia Morgan said of the new figures: 'Adopted children themselves have often suffered repeated attempts to re-unite them with their birth parents. Many have also been recycled through many foster homes and children's homes.

'By the time they are finally adopted they can be terribly disturbed and absolutely unmanageable.'

She added: 'There is also a matter of what the adoptive home is like.

'Far more children are now being placed with single mothers. There are figures which show half of placements of older children with single mothers break down.

'There are also increasing numbers of children placed with gay couples and we don't have information on breakdown rates.'

Source: Mail Online.


Looking after Children.
It is bad news that the young are returning to the care system


The Plain English campaign’s recent complaints about the inappropriate use of language in politics has missed the main target. There is no more misleading euphemism in public policy than “looked-after children”, the new term for what used to known as children in care.

The care system in Britain is expensive and ineffective. Around 60 per cent of children in care leave school with no qualifications. They are 50 times more likely to end up in prison than their peers. Neither is there any real relationship between performance and spending. Local authorities now spend £40,000 a year for every child in care. Yet there has been almost no improvement in their educational achievement in a decade. That is why it is especially discouraging news that the number of adopted children who have been returned to the care system after a failed attempt at adoption has doubled in the past five years.

British law enshrines the laudable principle that children should be kept in their natural families. Under the Children’s Act 1989 local authorities were specifically given the task of promoting “the upbringing of children by their own families”. To uphold family life is a laudable principle. But it is not the sovereign value and more than three quarters of adopted children have been victims of abuse or neglect, usually at the hands of parents with alcohol or drug problems.

This presumption often means that children are kept in their birth family for too long. Lord Laming has also pointed out that court fees for applying to take children into care can be a deterrent, falling, as they do, on councils. The Adoption Act 2002 was expressly designed to expedite the adoption process but a 2006 government study found that delays in entering the care system still significantly reduced the chances of a viable adoption.

As a consequence, when children are finally placed in their adoptive families, their problems have been simmering for too long. Then, the support on offer for adoptive parents is inadequate. The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 introduced personal advisers to help care leavers to prepare for independent living. The formal system is not working well enough.

The best solution is fostering. The average cost per child in care is £774 per week. For children in residential homes the average is more than £2,000. For foster care it is just £489. The system, however, is 10,000 people short. Worse, more than 90 per cent of foster carers are over 40. Since 2007 there has been a national minimum for allowances but this has by no means been implemented universally. Forty per cent of foster carers receive no fees at all and 75 per cent are paid below the national minimum wage.

The combination of an overloaded system, recalcitrant children and inexperienced parents is not one that we should expect to work very often. In a sense it is a surprise that these disappointing figures are not worse than they are. The most important factor for a child in care is a durable attachment to a trusted adult. When this is lacking, as too often it is — one in ten children is moved nine or more times — progress is all but impossible. Philip Larkin once said that an only life can take so long to climb clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never. We have a duty of care to these children and it is not being exercised.

Source : Times.

 

Repères


- Deux enfants retournés après 6 ans à cause d'une dépression post-adoption
Six ans après avoir adopté deux garçons, Michelle Brau était incapable de créer un lien avec eux. Maintenant, ces garçons se trouvent dans une nouvelle maison. Elle aurait souffert d'une condition que plusieurs ne comprennent pas encore: la dépression post-adoption.
Publié par Kim Myung-Sook sur Fabriquée en Corée.

 

- En France, le dernier ouvrage de Catherine Sellenet Souffrances dans l'adoption résonnerait-il comme un coup de tonnerre dans un ciel serein ? Mais le firmament n’est immaculé que pour ceux qui refusent de voir les nuages qui s’accumulent depuis des années.
C’est que la rumeur enfle : il y aurait de plus en plus d’échecs d’adoption. On évoque des chiffres allant de 2 à 40 %.