SDLP Health Spokesperson Cara Hunter has welcomed a new bill to improve the adoption process for children and prospective parents in the North.
Health Minister Robin Swann introduced the Adoption and Children Bill on Wednesday.
The East Derry MLA said:
“This legislation to improve the adoption process is long overdue. It will help to end delays for children while improving the support for everyone involved in the adoption process. It will also allow more people to consider becoming adoptive parents which will increase the chances of those in the care system finding loving and stable homes. An increase in post adoption support will further encourage prospective parents to become involved and ensure that both children and parents have the assistance they need on their adoption journey. It’s also positive to see support for older children and alternatives to adoption for them included as it's not just young children that need to find homes.
“The bill will also provide much needed support to children while they’re in care and after they leave it and transition to adult life. This can be a challenging period for many and this new support should allow them to pursue their education and careers within a framework that helps them to succeed. Families will also welcome greater financial support from our health trusts to allow those with disabled children to take respite when they need it most.
“It’s disappointing that the bill was unable to reach its first stage before the Assembly's summer recess, it needs to be progressed as soon as possible so that children and young people can benefit without delay. I welcome the Minister’s commitment that the bill will be completed before the end of the current mandate.”