NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council has welcomed the Government’s decision to offer adoptive parents maternity leave and pay which will put them on a level footing to other parents.
Currently the council has potential families for 60 children awaiting adoption, but this still leaves 40 at any one time where a match hasn’t been identified because of a shortage of adoptive families.
Councillor Philip Owen, the council’s committee chairman for children and young people’s services said: “Not only is adopting one or more children a huge emotional commitment, but as with bringing up biological children, it’s also a long-term financial commitment as well.
“Adopters deserve the same rights and support as other parents. And any help they can get to make the life-changing transition to family life a little smoother is obviously very welcome.”
The council expects to approve 48 adopters this year, significantly up on last year’s 31.
“It isn’t that there are fewer potential adopters coming forward – people still want to adopt. But because we have ever increasing numbers of children to place – currently we have 864 children in care in Nottinghamshire - we’re keen that as many barriers as possible to adopting are removed,” added councillor Owen.
Under the Government’s proposals, which would come into force in 2015, statutory adoption leave would become a ‘day one’ right and no longer require the completion of 26 weeks of employment.
Adoption pay would also come into line with maternity pay, with six weeks paid at 90 per cent of salary and the remainder at the statutory rate.
Adopting parents will also be entitled to use the new flexible work rules allowing mothers and fathers to share up to 12 months between them after the birth of their child, nine of them paid.
If you’re interested in adopting, please call the council on 0845 301 2288 or find out more at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering.