BAME children in care wait longer to be adopted, data shows

Children’s charity Coram has urged BAME families in to consider adoption

by LAUREN CODLING

ASIANS have been urged to consider adopting or fostering children in need, as a leading charity claimed young people from BAME backgrounds often wait longer to be placed with families than their white peers.

According to figures, as of March 2017, five per cent of children in care are Asian.

Children’s charity Coram which runs adoption services across the country, has urged BAME families in south London to consider adoption.

Last Tuesday (28), the charity organised an event in Brixton, south London, to highlight the urgent need for adoptive families from the ethnic community.

Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent, the director of operations and deputy CEO at Coram, spoke to Eastern Eye of her hope that Asian communities would see the need to help vulnerable children.

According to Jeyarajah-Dent, the law says that children should live with a carer of their own background. However, this is not always possible.

Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent

“You are meant to place a child with the same cultural and racial background,” she said.

“But if you can’t, being with a family is more important than not being in one.”

The charity, formed in 1739, claimed that children from  BAME backgrounds often wait longer to be placed with adoptive families.

There are currently around 220 children across London waiting to be adopted.

Alice Noon, head of Coram Adoption in London, said the charity aimed to find permanent, loving homes for every child who needs support.

“We want to do everything possible to encourage more people from the BAME community to come forward as adopters,” she said.

“We are here to guide adopters through the life-changing process of becoming parents, and we offer support for all families who adopt with us, for as long as they need us.”

The charity also hosts an array of events to encourage fostering and adoption, including
Activity Days for Fostering. They are designed to speed up and improve the process of matching children with a wider range of prospective foster carers.

Asian siblings Kamil, 10, and seven-year-old Adele, found their permanent family during one of these events. The children, who were matched with newly approved foster carers, are thriving.

For instance, Adele had suffered with selective mutism. But after she was settled with her new family, her confidence grew, and she began to speak.

A young girl takes part in activities during a Coram event

Since the charity largely focuses on helping children who are unable to live with their bio
logical parents, Jeyarajah-Dent said it was rewarding for the Coram team to see children flourish with adoptive or foster families.

“It is lovely to see,” she said.

However, Jeyarajah-Dent, who has been working with the charity for 12 years, said there can be misconceptions about fostering and adoption.

For instance, some people believe that the process of taking a child away from a problematic family environment is fairly straightforward. For example, if a parent has issues with alcohol, some may think the child is taken away instantly.

However, this is not the case. Efforts need to be made to ensure the parent is supported or receives help before drastic action is taken.

“You have to prove the parent has the capacity to change,” she said. “You must intervene with them to make sure you’ve done everything you can to help them change their behaviour.”

As well as highlighting the need for adoptive or foster families, Jeyarajah-Dent urged individuals to speak out if they believed a child was being abused.

“It is very important that all our communities make sure that every child is not being abused or neglected,” she stressed. “They should seek help – it is always available.”