a) this isn't really an update and b) this could turn into a bit of a rant.
The very nice and extremely well-informed Aurelia blogged about a variety of things, including some not-very-new (sorry) "news" that there has been an increase in the number of babies removed from their mothers into foster care. Apparently as well as the Torygraph this has also appeared in the Daily Mail and the Times - both noted anti-social-worker papers. Yes, I am a woolly lefty. But I'm also a member of the British public who reeled in shock as we read about how Victoria Climbie fell through the cracks of the system - and yes, how two adoptive parents were accused (but acquitted) of killing their son.
If we become either adoptive parents or foster carers, we will have social workers in our face, mithering us to death. If I carry a baby to term, I will have a health visitor come to the house before the birth, as well as the midwife. If my birth or adoptive child is injured, the hospital will inform at least the health visitor. The HV will also check for signs of antenatal or postnatal depression. I believe this is right.
I do not believe that babies are being "taken for adoption" - I do believe that the childcare system - hospitals, HVs, midwives, social workers - has become a lot more jumpy. It is true that potential adoptive parents would like healthy white babies, but currently the choice is a) adopt a baby with a disability, a non-white baby (and that's pretty hard if you aren't black or mixed race yourself) or adopt an older child or siblings or b) don't adopt at all, what potential adoptive parents want and what they get bear little relationship to each other. Many people I've chatted to online have rung up their local social services to be told "there are no white children under 5" or " we aren't taking adopters on at the moment" (the latter being more or less what our county told us).
Loads of funding DOES go to women to help keep their babies. If we end up fostering that will be our main purpose - to help care for children while they have contact with birth families and the birth families sort their lives out. Where a child is in temporary foster care, it's for their safety, but children aren't placed directly for the adoption in the UK, ever - they are all placed in foster care in order to give the birth families space and time to be better able to care for them. It's only when that can't happen that a permanency plan that doesn't involve birth family is made - I know that this sometimes means that birth parents who later get their lives together do lose a child but for the sake of the child long periods of uncertainty are bad.