Recent years have seen visible campaigns to drive more individuals and couples wishing to become parents to consider the adoption route.
From the beginning of May 2015, the £19.3 million Adoption Support Fund became available nationwide however, it has been reported that the number of babies made subject to special guardianships, and therefore placed with extended family members, friends or foster parents rather than adopters, has tripled.
Adoption has changed. As same sex couples gain the right to marry, and England and Wales allowing single people to adopt, there are more prospective adopters waiting to start or grow their family.
Many of them prefer to be matched with a baby or young child leaving older children, and sibling groups, the hardest to place. As local authorities increasingly place babies with special guardians, a potential bottle neck may be created unless prospective adopters can be persuaded to consider older children.
According to the Adoption Register for England, a total of 850 children were referred to the register during 2014 / 2015. During the same period, 1,993 prospective adopters were referred to the register and only 282 children were matched.
A further 6,000 are currently waiting to be placed on the register for England with one third waiting more than a year to be matched with what is known in adoption circles as their ‘forever family’.
The Department of Education has stated that it is reviewing the situation and this week saw the announcement of the Schools and Adoption Bill in the Queen’s speech. Its main objective is to reduce the waiting time for children and will require local authorities to merge their services and will seek to have regional adoption agencies working across LA boundaries.
This should increase the pool of prospective adopters who will now be considered for children beyond the limitations of the geographic boundaries of their adoption agency.
Recent statistics from the Adoption Register for England show that 55% of children currently available belong to sibling groups, the vast majority of all children waiting to be placed are from white British backgrounds (73%) with more boys on the register than girls (57%).
As awareness of, and accessibility to, adoption increases, many more may find themselves considering this as an option.
Linder Myers’ childcare specialists have a passion for working with, and helping families, including advising on the adoption process for those considering adopting a child from care and step parents or extended family members wishing to adopt.
We can also advise on Special Guardianship Orders and on complex issues where a child has been made subject to care proceedings.
We pride ourselves on being able to provide clients with an empathetic and non-judgmental approach. If you are considering adopting, and would like further advice on the legal aspects, contact one of our friendly team of specialists.Find out more about our Family department Read ‘The parent’s guide to forced adoption’