There are very serious questions raised by your article (Rising adoptions penalise poor families but don’t cut numbers in care, says report, 19 January). The implications suggest a link between increasing levels of poverty and increasing numbers of children being adopted without the consent of their parents. By coincidence, the issues were discussed last week at our Research Advisory Group, which includes some of the leading researchers in the field of family placement in the UK.

Questions were raised by the group about the data and data analysis at the heart of this set of findings, which need to be addressed urgently. But the suggestion that there is an explicit policy to address poverty through adoption is crude and not supported by other robust studies. Local authorities and the courts must comply with the strictest of rules embedded in law when deciding on the future of children.

What the reported research does not address or even mention is anything about the high levels of vulnerability of those children who are placed under the authority of the court for adoption. The overriding issue has been made absolutely clear by the president of the family division, that this adoption can only happen “where nothing else will do”. That is the toughest of tests and one that defeats any suggestion of an illicit state policy.
John Simmonds
Director of policy, research and development, CoramBAAF

Dr Andy Bilson’s findings tell us that despite the current policy, which encourages adoption rather than putting children into care, the number of children in care is still rising. He found adoptions have risen by 40% over the past five years, compared with the five previous years, but over the same period the number of children in care rose by 7.5% to 70,440.

A mother’s work bringing up children is the foundation of a healthy nation. That key role is not only ignored but also rejected by any government that makes it closer and closer to impossible by reducing incomes while a chaotic housing market is forever increasing rents, whether they are unemployed or in work. The number of hungry and impoverished children painfully removed from their parents by social services can only continue to increase unless there is a powerful intervention by government that gives all mothers and their families adequate incomes and affordable housing. A nation that does not maintain its human foundations is on the way to collapse.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty

I totally agree with Sarah Anderson on the abuse of foster carers (‘We are the epitome of the gig economy – we deserve rights’, 18 January). The even greater abuse is that of the families who take these children for life as adopters. At that point the local authorities pass the buck and you are in it on your own.

Many parents end up never being able to work again, overwhelmed by these children’s extreme needs. As a single parent, I spend days working for my child’s needs: emailing social workers, school, contacting possible therapist, filling in forms to attempt to gain some benefits for us to live off, being on hand when the school needs to call me, or to act as home tutor home-schooling every afternoon as only morning school is available to us currently, or indeed when school sends my child home on another exclusion.

I have to be mother, social worker, counsellor, therapist, teacher, all rolled into one, for which I get not a penny from the state. Luckily I have a small investment company that keeps us going. Without that, my altruistic decision all those years ago to parent a child who desperately needed a family would have spun us into poverty, as it has done for many families across the UK. I strongly believe that once it has been identified that a child’s needs are this extreme, adopters should receive a modest but reasonable salary to do the state’s work. Having children like this in care would cost somewhere in the region of £150,000-£200,000 a year. My child is wonderful and I wouldn’t be without them but this is state abuse at its extreme.
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