Press release

New online service to support one in seven who would adopt

The Government has launched a new service to encourage potential adopters to provide loving homes for children in care.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new, national, online tool to help prospective adopters was launched today. The First4Adoption service gathers in one place, for the first time, the evidence and information people need to navigate the adoption system.

The launch comes as new research, published today, shows that over 4 million people in England would consider adopting, but are held back by myths as well as barriers in the system.

First4Adoption, which will run alongside the existing information line (0300 222 0022), is intended to help overcome these barriers and dispel the myths.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families who has two adopted brothers, said:

Every child deserves a loving home, but too many children are waiting too long. I want to encourage everyone thinking about adopting to take the first steps to offering a child the love and stability that they so desperately need.

I want no prospective parent to be in any doubt that the government, and the whole system, are on their side. For too long families have been deterred by baffling, over wieldy and unduly slow processes, or by myths around the types of families sought.

There are lots of children out there, who need families, all over the country. I urge anyone considering adopting to access First4Adoption, call the information line (0300 222 0022), and take that first step towards the challenge - and joy - of being an adoptive parent.

In March 2012 there were 4,600 children waiting to be adopted. Figures show that over 600 additional adopters are needed annually to keep up with the growing number of children waiting to be adopted, and a further 3,000 adopters are needed to tackle the backlog of children waiting for homes.

The research published today by the Department for Education, ‘Understanding attitudes, motivations and barriers to adoption and fostering’ shows:

  • There could be up to 4 million people in England who would be ‘fairly likely’, ‘very likely’ or ‘certain to’ consider adopting at some point in the future.
  • Over 650,000 people who are ‘very likely’ or ‘certain’ to consider adopting imminently.
  • Potential adopters were found to have deep misconceptions about the type of people who can adopt and complexities in the adoption system.

The online service gives clear, independent information about adopting - from who can adopt to how to start the adoption process - together with examples of people from a range of backgrounds who have successfully adopted, a myth-busting section and an adoption agency-finder.

Would-be adopters can also call the Infoline staffed by trained advisers to get authoritative information about all aspects of adopting, and to find adoption agencies in their area.

Carol Homden, Chief Executive of children’s charity Coram, which is jointly running First4Adoption with Coram Children’s Legal Centre and Adoption UK said:

We know that there are many people in England who would consider giving a loving home to a child waiting to be adopted and want clear information about the process.

First4Adoption has been set up to provide a much-needed first point of contact for people interested in adopting. If you have a question about your suitability to adopt or about the process of adopting a child, do visit our new website at or call our friendly, trained advisors on 0300 200 2222.

A new package of maps has also been published today. The maps show the picture in local authorities across the country at 31 March 2012, to give people thinking of adopting a range of new information. The maps will be updated regularly to reflect the latest picture across the country. As the situation in local areas can change quickly, prospective adopters are urged to call the Infoline for advice on adopting and accessing the most appropriate recruitment agencies.

Today’s announcements are the latest in a series of steps the Government is taking to tackle the chronic shortage of adopters and reform the way they are recruited. Last year the Prime Minister set out wider reforms to the adoption system, including ways to give adopters a more active role in the process, and the same rights to parental pay and leave as birth parents.

Notes to editors

  1. First4Adoption is the new, dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England. Callers to the service can speak to friendly trained advisors to get information about adopting a child - from who can apply to become an adoptive parent to how to begin the adoption process. The service can also put callers in touch with adoption agencies in their area. * First4Adoption is run by the charities Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Coram and Adoption UK. It is funded and supported by the Department for Education. * Anyone interested in adopting can call the First4Adoption information line on 0300 222 0022 (open 10am - 6pm on Monday - Friday) or visit the website at

  2. View the Understanding attitudes, motivations and barriers to adoption and fostering research conducted by Kindred and Work Research

  3. The latest adoption maps are based on local authority (LA) data collected by the Department for Education and Ofsted. The maps are not a judgement on local authority performance. The maps contain information on children going through the adoption process and adopters recruited and assessed by LAs. They do not include information on adopters recruited by voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs). Some LAs also work as consortia or contract work out to VAAs and therefore have access to a number of adopters that will not be reflected in data used for these maps. The data are for the year ending 31 March 2012: it is therefore important to note that the situation in LAs may have changed considerably since then. Data will be updated as newer figures become available.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288

Published 5 April 2013