More children in care but decline in adoptions fear

Published: 14.05.15

Adoption UK is concerned that more children are going into care but then failing to move out of care and into adoption (if it’s the right solution for that child). This is leaving potential new parents for these children waiting and frustrated which is completely contrary to what the adoption reforms set about achieving.
More children in care but decline in adoptions fear

Why the delays?

The reason for these delays comes from a significant overreaction by some local authorities and some courts to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judgments in 2013 –  Re B and Re BS.  This judgement queried a particular case proposing adoption as the right solution for that child.  It is thought that this then caused local authority staff to withhold further applications which in turn has had the effect of denying the opportunity of adoption for children who should rightly be adopted and delaying decision making for many others.  Whilst alternatives to adoption can certainly be appropriate and be considered – adoption can and does remain the right solution for many children unable to live with their birth parents.  Leaving these children in care with no permanent solution is not acceptable.   

So what have we been doing about it?

At Adoption UK we have been working behind the scenes to help mitigate this situation by:

  • Contributing to a `mythbuster’ document http://bit.ly/1AQKwz7  issued by the National Adoption Leadership Board in 2014 to local authorities explaining what the legal position and recent court judgments mean in relation to adoption orders to encourage right and robust applications to still be made.   
  • Using the personal experiences our members share with us to provide powerful evidence to Government that backs up what the statistics are showing.  
  •  Our CEO, Hugh Thornbery, sits on the National Adoption Leadership Board and through this board not only is able to share evidence of practice but also contribute to solutions to get the system working again (like the Myth buster as mentioned above). 
  • Providing statements to local and national media to raise awareness of this issue and to keep it fresh in the minds of Ministers as the new Government begins its new term. 

Hugh Thornbery said: “It’s absolutely essential that we look at all options for individual children and wherever it is possible keep them with their own families.  If that’s not viable though, and there aren’t any realistic options there within the family, delays are really harmful so let’s not delay. Let’s make sure that if we’ve ruled out family members we then progress to adoption as soon as possible and that our systems work to help ensure this.”

What can you do?
If you would like to share your experiences of being approved adopters waiting for a long time for a child you can email press@adoptionuk.org.uk

If you have been approved to adopt and are still waiting to be matched with a child, the wait can be frustrating.  One of the things you can do is to become a member of Adoption UK to keep up to date with adoption and parenting matters and subscribe to 'Children Who Wait', our family-finding service.  We work closely with local authorities across the UK; helping them to match children and prospective adopters by featuring profiles in 'Children Who Wait' of the many children waiting to find their 'forever homes'.


Read more about this issue:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tlvc1(starts about 33 mins and 30 seconds in)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tk7fp (starts about 1 hour 48 mins)