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Twice as many children waiting for adoption as there are adopters

There are 4,140 youngsters in England awaiting adoption, compared to 1,700 families who are approved to adopt.

There are currently 4,140 youngsters in England awaiting adoption (Gareth Fuller/PA)
There are currently 4,140 youngsters in England awaiting adoption (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Alison Kershaw, PA Education Correspondent

More than twice as many children are waiting to be adopted as there are families willing to adopt, campaigners have warned.

Figures from the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB) show there are 4,140 youngsters across England where a decision has been made by authorities that they should be adopted.

In comparison, there are around 1,700 families who are approved to adopt and waiting to be matched with children.

There are 2,760 children where a placement order has been made for adoption but they have not yet been placed, the figures show.

The figures, published by the ASGLB this month, are totals across nine regions of England as at the end of December last year.

Older children, those with disabilities, those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and sibling groups are more likely to struggle to find adoptive families.

One charity leader said that adopted children are among the most “complex and vulnerable” in society, and that adoption can have a transformative effect on their lives.

The testimony of adoptive parents is proof that you can successfully parent children who are deemed harder to place, if the right support is in place Sue Armstrong Brown, Adoption UK

The data, published to mark the start of National Adoption Week, show more than a quarter (28%) of those waiting to be adopted are over five-years-old, one in five (20%) are from a BAME background, and four per cent have a disability.

More than half (57%) are waiting to be adopted with their brothers and sisters.

Sue Armstrong Brown, chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “Adopted children are among the most complex and vulnerable in society as they have often suffered serious neglect or abuse in their early lives.

“But adoption can have a transformative effect on these children and the testimony of adoptive parents is proof that you can successfully parent children who are deemed harder to place, if the right support is in place.”

The ASGLB was established in 2014 with the remit to provide leadership to the adoption system and help drive improvements.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “To ensure there are enough adopters for those children needing a loving stable home, we have been working closely with Regional Adoption Agencies to focus on finding adopters from a range of communities and backgrounds, especially for those who are sometimes harder to place.”

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