Clause 4 - Assessments etc. for adoption support services

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 7:00 pm ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 7:00, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

That is right, and my hon. Friend has raised another appropriate point. If the Minister is not prepared to accept the amendment, it is incumbent on her to give us examples of a social services department carrying out an assessment clearly identifying adoption support services required by the adopted child or connected persons that have not been provided. Under what circumstances would that be acceptable practice? That is the question that she must answer if she is not prepared to accept the amendment. We are not prepared to accept anything that contains the words ''decide whether''. If a need has been clearly identified, everything should be directed at satisfying that need by formulating solutions that deliver services that can solve the particular problem. That is a key point, and Opposition Members will need to be well convinced that that is the Government's intention. The way in which this part of the clause has been fashioned does not suggest that it is.

Amendment No. 70 is contingent on the Government being prepared to accept that that duty rests on the local authority, or at the least that the local authority should have a duty to say why those support services will not be provided. That should be clearly laid out in a formula available to the persons who have requested adoption support services that would decide the form of the review or appeal mechanism that should be available. When we reach clause 12, we shall examine the review mechanism for adoption decisions. There are many other stages in the adoption process where a review of a decision made by a local authority could be appropriate. At the very least, we would call for a written account of why those services are not forthcoming, which could form the basis of an appeal or a claim to another body which may be able to

reverse that decision or provide the support services that a local authority was either not in position to supply or had refused to supply.

Amendment No. 71 deals with the subject of preparing a plan for adoption support services and keeping that plan under review. As we all agree, adoption support is not only provided in an episode; it is required for the lifetime of that child, and in more concentrated amounts up to the time that that child reaches the age of 18. It is right, especially with children who have complex needs, that the plan of support should be regularly reviewed, because their situation may change. Earlier problems may have required a support service that is no longer appropriate, but there may be other effects such as

behavioural problems at school or a whole host of situations for which support is necessary. It would be sensible for the plans drawn up for that child to be reviewed regularly until support services are no longer required.

The three amendments would be useful and I am glad to say that they are supported by my hon. Friends and the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd). The clause as drafted would not achieve what we want to achieve and what the Government have led us to believe they want to achieve.

Debate adjourned.--[Angela Smith.]

Adjourned accordingly at five minutes past Seven o'clock till Thursday 13 December at half-past Nine o'clock.