New guidelines given to social workers in England will allow white couples to adopt black children and those from ethnic minority groups.
The government will warn local authorities that the placing of a child should not be delayed where there is a suitable family from a different ethnic group. Several children from ethnic minority groups are not adopted because many social workers feel that they should be placed with families that come from the same background. The education secretary, Michael Grove, will confirm the move on Tuesday.
New guidance will be implemented but the will be no change in the law. The guidelines will outline that providing that any prospective adopters display that they are able to care for a child then race should not be factored into the decision. The guidelines will also state that it is “unacceptable” to prevent a family from adopting a child of a different ethnicity.
The government plans to closely monitor each local authority so that those who ignore advice persistently will have adoption services contracted to voluntary agencies. Currently the advice states that “due consideration” should be given to a child’s religious persuasion, cultural background and racial origin. However, race is not specified as a factor which should outweigh other factors.
The move follows an announcement last November by Tim Loughton, the UK’s children’s minister, that the government would soon be updating its adoption guidance.