According to statistics provided by the Department for Education, for a fourth consecutive year adoptions in the UK have fallen. In the period to March 2020, the number of children adopted was 3,440, down 4% from 3,590 the previous year. In 2015, we saw an all-time high of 5,360 children adopted but, sadly, since then we have seen these figures fall significantly.
In contrast, the number of children coming in to the care system has increased and in the same period rose by 2%. The alarming factor is that these statistics are pre COVID-19 and there is already concern about what next year’s figures will say. If the number of children being adopted falls further and the number of children entering care increases even at this rate, we will see children waiting even longer (currently an average of 2 years) for a family or possibly even having to spend their entire childhood in care.
In the latter part of 2020, we were delighted to play our part in the national #YouCanAdopt campaign, specifically launched to dispel myths around who is eligible to adopt and highlight that, especially during the COVID pandemic, there are still children out there who are looking for their new family. The campaign, funded by the Department for Education, aimed to break down barriers and misconceptions about who can adopt.
These messages are still very much at the forefront of our efforts to encourage people to step forward from a variety of backgrounds, including single parents, people of all faiths and none, people from the LGBTQ+ and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Our mission is to help more children to find loving homes and to reduce the number of children waiting.
We are keen to speak to families and individuals who would consider adoption, particularly for:
- Babies and young children aged 0 – 4 years
- Children who are over 5 years
- Sibling Groups
- Children with additional needs, such as a disability or educational requirements
- Black and Ethnic Minorities
Susan Swarbrick CEO, said “These figures are deeply concerning and there is no doubt the pandemic has had a very real impact on finding families for the thousands of children waiting and also on those children coming into care. We will be working with our partners and the wider sector in 2021 to encourage people to adopt.
Finding adoptive families for some of the most vulnerable children is at the heart of what we do at Caritas Care, it’s what drives us, and this year has been no exception! Our social work teams have continued to recruit, assess, prepare and train new adopters, make new placements and provide placement support to children and their families.
I do believe our community has become stronger because of our experiences during 2020 and we start 2021 proud of what we have achieved together, all while adapting to new ways of working. I urge anyone who has been thinking about adoption to get in touch and help us to provide even more families for even more children in 2021!”
We will be hosting fortnightly online information events from Tuesday 12 January, if you would like to attend one of these events, click here to find out more and to book your place.