Nearly 5,000 adoptive parents and prospective adopters responded to the survey that informed our Adoption Barometer report this year. But who were these respondents, and were they representative of the community as a whole? Our Education Policy Advisor, Becky Brooks examines the data. 

  • Geographically, there was a good spread of respondents from each nation of the UK. We had a particularly good response from Wales, at 7.4% of respondents. The proportion of the UK population living in Wales is just under 5%.
  • 95% of respondents described themselves as white. According to the 2011 census, 86% of the population of England and Wales was white.
  • 87% of respondents were adopting, or had adopted, as part of a couple. According to DfE figures, in the year ending March 2019, 88% of children adopted in England were adopted by couples.
  • 11% of respondents identified themselves as LGBTQ+.
  • 55% of respondents were not members of Adoption UK, indicating that the survey had a wide reach among adopters beyond Adoption UK groups and networks.

Approvals, matching and early placement

  • Just over one quarter of all respondents were undergoing approvals, linking or matching during 2019 (1,256 respondents).
  • 76% of these prospective adopters were adopting through their local authority or regional adoption agency; 24% were using a voluntary adoption agency.
  • 20% of prospective adopter respondents identified as LGBTQ+. In England, 14% of adoptions were to same-sex couples in 2018/19; in Scotland this figure was 15%.
  • 10% of all respondents had a child or children move into the family home during 2019 on adoptive placement, and a further 3% had a child or children move in as part of an early permanence arrangement (foster for adoption or concurrent placement).

Established families

  • 73% of respondents (3,378) were part of an ‘established family’, with one or more children whose adoption was finalised before 2019. This group represented more than 5,200 adopted children.
  • 84% of these children were aged four or younger at the time of their adoption.
  • 44% of these children were aged 11 or older at the time their parent completed the survey.
  • 11% of these children had been adopted via an early permanence route (foster for adoption or concurrency)
  • 92% had been adopted from within the same country in the UK where their parents were living, 4% from another UK country and 4% internationally.
  • 81% of respondents had adopted via their local authority or regional adoption agency; 19% had used a voluntary adoption agency.