Prospective adopters to get council housing help
Couples in council housing who want to adopt will be helped to find bigger homes to speed up the process, under new proposals.
Grant Shapps, the housing minster, announced today that guidance will soon be issued to councils making it clear that they will have to consider the needs of people wanting to adopt or foster when allocating homes.
Legislation requires adopted and fostered children to have their own bedroom, but prospective parents or carers often find it difficult to find a bigger home before their application is approved – creating a Catch-22 situation.
Council’s children’s services and housing departments will be told to work closer together to help prospective parents or carers succeed in their applications.
Mr Shapps said: ‘It is a tragedy that we live in a society where bureaucracy and red tape can prevent children from being adopted or fostered into a stable home. I want the dreams of prospective foster carers and adoptive parents and the dreams of children in care to be realised.
‘I want councils to be creative with the powers and flexibilities we have given them: if a family is willing to take the brave step of adopting or fostering a child, we should aim for a housing system that supports them rather than getting in the way.
‘The wider social benefits of bringing children out of care and into a stable and loving home are too great for them to be stymied by council departments working in silos.
‘I will also be looking at any way, we, in Whitehall can make the process smoother for prospective foster carers and adoptive parents.
‘Over the next few months we will be undertaking a wider trawl of housing and local government red tape and looking to amend anything that might be preventing people from coming forward to foster or adopt a child.’
Tim Loughton, children’s minister, said: ‘We urgently need more people to come forward to adopt and foster children. We must make sure that when people do come forward, local authorities are doing everything they can to make the process easier.
‘Issues around the number of bedrooms in a home should not be preventing children from finding safe, loving placements with families.
‘We want to see more local authorities using their common sense on these issues. New housing guidance is a welcome step forward, and will give local authorities more flexibility in how they handle housing applications for prospective adopters and foster carers.’