As a former Children’s Panel member, I know that there are so many wonderful children across Scotland that need and deserve somewhere to belong and to be happy.
Every child deserves a warm, loving and safe environment to call home and in Scotland we are aiming to be the best place in the world for children to grow up.
Across the country, thousands of adoptive families are doing just that – providing the love and security that all children deserve.
We know that adoption makes a real difference to the lives of young people.
At an event I hosted to mark Adoption Week, I heard from Joy Kemp who talked about the wonderful moment she and her husband Steve met their daughter for the first time.
Joy said: “Social work arrived carrying the tiniest pink bundle. She was adorable. We all fell in love.”
Joy fostered her child from birth but soon knew she wanted to provide her with a forever home.
Earlier this year, Joy adopted her daughter and she beamed with pride when she told us what that has meant to her.
She said: “I can’t tell you the pleasure it gives me every time I write her name with our surname and everytime I sign a form for school as her parent.”
The love and happiness that adoption can give for children and their adoptive families is so evident. But the process is not without its challenges.
It was fitting to mark Adoption Week by screening the award-winning film And Violet, as it lays bare the issues and struggles surrounding adoption.
We know the adoption system is a rigorous process of checks and balances, involving a range of agencies and professionals.
But we want to make the process of finding a stable and loving family for the children who can’t live at home, as quick and simple as possible.
Every child deserves that forever home. I’m delighted the Scottish Government is so committed to making that a reality.
Rona McKay is SNP MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden.
Here are the actions we are taking in government to ensure every child has a forever home.
We’re streamlining processes to reduce the amount of time young people spend waiting for a permanent home.
Since its introduction in 2011, the Adoption Register has helped to streamline the process of adoption, and over 413 families have now adopted children after being matched through the Register. But there is still more we can do.
We have moved Scotland’s Adoption Register to an online system, to bring families together and reduce the amount of time potential adopters and children wait for a placement. This system will be safe and secure, and for the first time, prospective adopters will also be able to look for matches directly.
We’re continuing ‘activity days’ where prospective adopters and children can meet.
‘Activity days’ allow children and potential adoptive families to get to know each other in a safe, fun and informal environment. After the success of the pilot in 2016, we have increased the number of activity days held, with five events held across the country.
We’re supporting local authorities to deliver a permanent home more quickly for looked after children and young people.
We are providing expert support to local authorities so they can bring agencies and professionals together through their Permanence and Care Excellence programme. This programme aims to ensure more children have a permanent home more quickly by reducing delay in the system.
We are undertaking a root and branch review of the system that supports children in care system.
This review will look at its underpinning laws, practices, culture and ethos, and will be driven by those who have experience of care. The voices of adopters, foster parents and adopted children will be heard loud and clear within this work.
We’re providing funding for a range of charities and organisations.
We provide funding to a number of charities and organisations working with professionals, looked after children and families. This funding helps to maintain and expand Scotland’s adoption register, recruit more adopters and foster carers, maintain the adoption contact register for Scotland and operate the national adoption advice line.