The British Association of Social Workers have criticised how Ofsted has failed to point out how local authorities are expected to speed up the adoption assessment process.
It has been acknowledged that many of the delays occur within the legal system. The adoption cases are judged by the authorities and the decisions are often challenged in the family courts. Delays in the family courts are down to lack of collaboration between solicitors, barristers and local authorities in relation to paper chasing, preparing casework and waiting for paper documents to be distributed.
Only 60 children under a year old were adopted last year, even though more than 3,600 children of that age were in care. Care applications have even risen by 10.1 per cent since last year according to CAFCASS - an organisation committed to providing support to families involved in childcare cases.
Moreover, a study by The Relationships Foundation has revealed the total cost of family breakdown up to 2012 for the UK was £44 billion, up from £42 billion last year – an annual cost to the taxpayer of £1,470. The index looks at the cost of family breakdown with regard to Tax and Benefits, Housing, Health and Social Care, Legal Aid and Education & Young ‘NEETs’.
The increase in family breakdowns are thought to be in reaction to the ‘Baby P’ case in 2008, alongside neglect caused by recession-related family breakdown, parental drug and alcohol abuse and severe mental illness. Improvements must be made now to avoid delays and ultimately, the detrimental effects on our family units for years to come.
In a recent statement by MP for Surrey Heath and Secretary of State for Education, Mr Gove was "angered" by statistics indicating a decrease in adoption rates by 17 per cent in England, with only two per cent finding new homes before the age of one.
David Atkinson, CEO of Atkinson Lewis – case management specialists who support solicitors, local authorities and social workers, said “There was an annual surge in cases following the Christmas period, remarkably more than the preceding 15 years we’ve been working in this sector. Electronic document transfer has proven extremely beneficial during the peak season, enabling costs to be cut and delays to be reduced to a minimum.”
Technology can help professionals reduce time spent on paper chasing; particularly at a time when government is putting so many time limits in place. Urgency and efficiency are a key element in child protection cases and the busy period highlights the urgency for reducing delays. Whilst many businesses are struggling with the cost and time inefficiencies of paper bundles, others have realised the benefits of working with electronic documents.
EDT by Atkinson Lewis is a highly encrypted document management system with more superior protection than online banking systems. Users of EDT are able to send and retrieve sensitive documents and can 0nly be accessed by those who have been given permission.
Reducing delays and overheads can be achieved with EDT – a platform specifically designed for professionals working within the family division. To enquire about a free trial for EDT by Atkinson Lewis, please contact us on 0330 1002 555, email email@example.com or visit www.atkinsonlewis.co.uk.
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Notes to Editors:
Atkinson Lewis is an organisation that specialises in case management services and software. We’re a team of specialists, pooled from all the medical and scientific fields that play a role in childcare cases.
Our clinical experts have spent over 15 years helping to establish patterns of substance abuse among parents and potential carers. And all the while, our admin team has been supporting casework, managing the needs of Courts, Local Authorities, Solicitors and Social Services.
We’re here to save you time and effort – providing all the medical and scientific expertise you need, as well as removing the admin burden. Our complete service includes psychiatric and psychological reports, collection and testing of hair and blood samples, interpretation of lab results and more. We’ll even provide an expert witness to support your case in Court.
EDT is a brand new Electronic Document Transfer system by Atkinson Lewis. With EDT, every file from your client’s case is scanned, encrypted and uploaded to a secure server - then you (only you) control distribution. Confidentiality assured. Whether you’re sharing legal documents, lab results, Expert Witness reports or entire Court Bundles, it’s a smart, efficient solution that will transform the way you work.
Every Solicitor and Case Manager seems to have the same problem. There’s just not enough space for all those lever arch files that document previous cases. Whether you archive on site or use a document storage facility, there’s a cost to keeping your records intact for the statutory 6-year period.
If you’re over-run with case notes, or running up hefty storage bills, you’ll be pleased to know that there is an alternative. Our new EDT system is a highly encrypted platform for archiving and sharing confidential documents online. Once a document is uploaded, you can share it with people you nominate – safe in the knowledge that no-one else can gain access without your permission.
Of course there’s nothing new about electronic document storage. But with an EV SSL certificate, and strict document transfer protocols, EDT is the safest way we know to archive and share sensitive information.
It will help you in all kinds of ways:
• Security – Keep tighter controls, with no risk that documents will fall into the wrong hands.
• Efficiency – Access current case notes instantly and choose a service level for retrieving archived documents...it’
• Cost control – Electronic storage will cost you a fraction of your physical storage costs.
• Space sharing – A chance to make better use of valuable storage space.
• Eco-friendly – A more responsible way of working – which could be important for future contracts with your Local Authority.
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We're a full support service for Solicitors, Barristers and Social Workers involved in childcare cases that feature drug or alcohol abuse.