MP raps ‘hard sell’ adoption campaign

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A Milton Keynes agency has been slammed for advertising children for almost instant adoption in local newspapers.

Adoptionplus woos would-be parents by promising ‘no cost, no waiting time and no hoops to jump through’.

Now it has been accused of advertising the children like second-hand furniture.

The full page advert uses photographs of ‘Liam’, aged four, and ‘Kevin’, aged three, who are dressed in identical red-striped t-shirts.

To avoid identifying the boys, who may come from Milton Keynes, the Citizen has blurred out their faces.

The advert has appeared in local newspapers in Cambridgeshire as agencies prefer for children to be placed outside their own county.

The ad appeals for kind and loving parents and states: ‘You don’t need to be in a relationship, you don’t need to be heterosexual; you don’t need to be young and you don’t need to be perfect.

‘You just need to really want to make a difference in a child’s life.’

The ad gives no details about Liam or Kevin’s needs but invites people to phone Adoptionplus to find out more.

MP John Hemmings said the advertisement sent out the wrong message and accused Adoptionplus of “box ticking” rather than finding good homes.

“They seem to be unconcerned about the household that children end up in ... If parents with children did something like that they would go to jail,” he said.

Adoptionplus director Joanne Alper defended the ads, describing them as an ‘imaginative’ way to encourage adoptions.

“There are 4,000 children in the UK who need a family and a lot of authorities are struggling to find them,” she said.

“This advert is a new thing. It is us trying something different and it is unusual. We just hope this could inspire interest.”

Adoptionplus is commissioned by the local authority to seek homes for children who are mainly over the age of four and have therapeutic needs due to early experience of abuse or trauma.

The agency’s website states the process from application to adoption approval will be completed within just six months.

Adoptionplus, which employs its own therapists and psychologists, is monitored by Ofsted.

The latest report early this year rated it as outstanding in five categories.

Ofsted inspectors described its staff as forward-thinking and extremely effective in finding homes for vulnerable children.