Speaking after the Bill had successfully completed its final stage, Mrs Cameron said'
"The passing of the Adoption & Children Bill marks a long overdue reform and overhaul of Northern Ireland's adoption and care system. This Bill will help to address the need for a more responsive, fit-for-purpose and child-focused adoption process. It will also make the necessary amendments to the Children Order 1995 to improve service provision for looked after children and young people and the young people who leave the care system.
The learning and experiences from recent changes to Children’s, Family and Adoption law in Great Britain has been of huge benefit in shaping this extensive piece of legislation for the needs in Northern Ireland. A new, clearer and more robust system will ensure better outcomes for our children, young people, their relatives, prospective foster or adoptive parents and the social care staff working within this improved framework.
The Health Minister recently stated that there has been a 30% increase of children and young people in care over the past 10 years and, significantly, a 6% increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. I sincerely hope that this Bill can be swiftly implemented to strengthen our care services and to provide a more streamlined procedure which supports prospective parents and children before, during and after the adoption process.
I am very pleased that the voices of children and young people in care have been central to this Bill. Throughout each stage, their welfare and well-being has been our party's priority and focus."