It has taken a couple decades, but UK foster care reform has finally followed the U.S. in deciding that it is much more important for a child to grow up in a permanent, transracial family than it is for that child to languish in foster care while waiting for a racial match that may never come.
In 1994, the United States enacted the Multiethnic Placement Act, which prohibits agencies from refusing or delaying foster or adoptive placements because of a child’s or foster/adoptive parent’s race, color, or national origin.
The United Kingdom’s Children and Families Act 2014 removes the duty placed on social workers to match the ethnicity of a child with their adoptive parents. It also strengthens the concept of “concurrent planning,” another important child welfare concept developed by the U.S., which allows a foster child to be placed in a prospective adoptive family’s home before the parental rights have been terminated.
The economic benefits of adoption in the UK are reported in research which used a cost calculator for children’s services developed by Loughborough University. Research suggests it costs a local authority £25,782 to have a child adopted, compared to up to £400,000 for each child remaining in long-term care.