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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 12 June 2008
Placing children for adoption is complex

• WE write in response to your article “Why can’t we adopt a baby here?” (June 5).
The process of placing children with families is not a straightforward one.
The majority of children who are placed for adoption have been significantly abused within their birth families. These experiences affect children’s emotional and behavioural development as well as their health and educational needs.
The adoption process is very detailed and vigorous because the families we are looking for must understand and be fully prepared to manage and support a child with this broad range of needs.
Many people who enquire about adoption are unable to have their own children and wish to adopt a baby.
Very few babies come up for adoption. However, there are many toddlers and young children – often with a brother or sister – who are looking for new families.
We would never keep a child in care if there was a suitable match. Currently in Camden we have five children who need to be adopted.
We have two families approved who are waiting to be matched with children – none of whom wish to be matched with the children we currently have waiting.
We are very sorry that Mr and Mrs Allen were unable to find a suitable child within the UK to be matched with. The family were assessed and approved by a voluntary adoption agency, not Camden and we are unable to comment on their experiences and the reasons for their lack of placement.
Camden, however, warmly welcomes families from all backgrounds and ethnicities to adopt children within the care system.
We offer excellent support to families throughout the assessment process and post placement.
Our next open evening is on July 3 at Camden Town Hall from 5.30pm to 7pm.
If any families wish to find out more about adoption please call the team on our freephone number 0800 028 1436 or via the website
Anne Turner
Assistant Director, Safeguarding & Social Care, Camden Council

The truth

• IT is always tempting for journalists to tweak the truth in order to achieve an eye-catching headline – the headline (Why can’t we adopt a baby here? June 5) being a case in point, claiming as it did that the parents in question had to go to China to adopt a baby because “our own authority is too useless” and that social workers needed to “stop following procedures and start thinking about the needs of children”.
The text then goes on to quote two knowledgeable sources which exemplify that thinking about and acting on the needs of children is just what Camden has done and that far from being “useless”, of the 12 Camden children needing adoptive homes only four are currently waiting. I know nothing of these children, but those who wait longest are usually children with complex needs, many of whom are now being placed through the national adoption register.
Matching a child with a permanent family is an exceedingly sensitive and complex matter, it is not just a case of placing any child with any approved family in the hope that they can bond and therefore flourish.
Reference is also made to 14 more children likely to need adoption “once a judge has passed an adoption order”.
Presumably you mean a care order with a care plan of adoption. Adoption orders are only made once a child is placed and when the prospective adoptive parents feel ready to apply for an order.
Do please try and get your facts right.
I have every sympathy for adoption applicants having to wait so long for a child, but there are very few babies available for adoption in this country and inter-country adoption is a very expensive process which is only available to a tiny minority of families. Adoption is primarily a service for children; procedures are designed and informed by all that we know about the conditions in which adoptive families can thrive and grow.
There is evidence that Camden, in common with many authorities, applies policies flexibly guided always by what is in the best interests of each and every child.
Helen Martyn
St Albans Road, NW5


• I REALLY have a lot of doubts as to how Camden social services are conducting their business.
The reason for that is what they are saying here (Why can’t we adopt a baby here? June 5) is that they don’t give children of ethnic minority to people of white background was not the case in our dealings with social workers.
My daughter, who died in the care of Camden social services, was Egyptian and she was never put with a family of her background.
Actually she was sent all over the place and never put with a family of her background.
Walid ElSharkawy
Augustus Street, NW1

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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