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Adoption takes 'too long', says councillor

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: November 04, 2011

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THE length of time it takes to adopt a child is "unacceptable".

That is the view of Councillor Jenny Whittle, the woman in charge of Kent County Council's specialist children's services.

It follows Prime Minister David Cameron's statement on Monday that authorities failing to find children adoptive parents within 12 months could have the responsibility removed.

New performance tables show only 69 per cent of youngsters adopted in Kent are found suitable parents within this timeframe, compared to a national average of 74 per cent.

Their publication coincides with National Adoption Week.

Mrs Whittle said: "I'm not happy with the length of time it takes to adopt, it can take up to two-and-a-half years.

"It's unacceptable.

"We've got to do everything we can to reduce that to six to eight months."

Mrs Whittle blamed Kent's poor performance on a shortage of suitable adoptive parents, which is now being addressed.

Although there are just 21 approved couples on the register today, Mrs Whittle pointed out 81 couples were being assessed and a further 21 were about to begin the process, bringing the total to 123.

There are currently 90 children in need of a home.

Another reason for Kent's poor performance, according to Mrs Whittle, was last year's dramatic collapse in children's services following a scathing Ofsted inspection that branded the department "poor".

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