Press release

Record number of children adopted

Records have been broken today with more than 5,000 children placed in loving, stable homes in the last 12 months - an increase of 26%.

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

adult holding a child's hand

Today’s announcement (30 September 2014) acts as proof that the government’s reforms are resulting in a world class adoption system, ensuring children are placed faster with their new families. Overall, adoptions have increased by 63% in the last 3 years, from 3,100 in 2011 to 5,050 in 2014.

Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, said:

Today’s figures show a significant and sustained rise in the number of adoptions - an increase of 26% in the last 12 months. This means thousands more of our most vulnerable children are finding the loving and permanent homes they so desperately need.

We also promised to remove delay and frustration from the process for both children and adopters. Today’s figures show that we are delivering on that promise. The system is working more quickly, as well as providing more support to families after an adoption has taken place.

Children are also spending less time in care waiting to be adopted, with the average length of time between a child coming into care and being placed with their new family down by 2 months.

Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, who has 2 adopted brothers, said:

It’s great to see that the number of children adopted from care has risen to the highest level yet. However we refuse to be complacent and we know there is more to be done.

I’m all too aware that welcoming a vulnerable child into your home is a rewarding but challenging experience. That’s why we’re putting in more support than ever to ensure that families get a fighting chance, including better support services focused on the needs of the family.

The new figures are a direct result of government action to reform the adoption system so children waiting are provided with stable and loving homes much more swiftly, giving them the opportunity to settle and bond with their new family.

In the last 12 months, the government has:

  • removed barriers by ensuring ethnicity is not prioritised over other factors, such as the ability to provide a stable, loving home
  • introduced new rules requiring councils to actively consider fostering for adoption places where appropriate, allowing children to move in with their adoptive family much earlier
  • placed mandatory requirement on all councils to tell prospective adopters about their entitlements
  • extended pupil premium funding and priority school admissions so that all children adopted from care are eligible for extra funding at school
  • empowered adoptive parents to choose the school that will best meet their child’s needs

Adoption is not right for every child. This is why the government is also improving the skills of social workers so they are able to judge what is best for every child, and taking forward comprehensive reforms to foster services and children’s residential care. These reforms will ensure all children are given the stability they need and the care that best meets their needs.

Chief Social Worker for Children, Isabelle Trowler, said:

We know adoption can be an excellent outcome, helping to ensure children get the love and stability they need.

Today’s news showing a reduction in delays for children waiting to be adopted is to be welcomed - highlighting the ongoing dedication of social workers across the country.

Notes to editors

  1. See the statistical first release: Children looked after in England, including adoption

  2. The statistics show that 5,050 children were adopted between April 2013 and March 2014, a huge increase on the 4,010 children adopted the previous year.

  3. Today’s figures show the highest number of adoptions of looked-after children since the current data collection began in 1992. It is not possible to make direct comparison to any figures prior to 1992 due to considerable difference in how the data was compiled and published.

  4. We have made the £200 million adoption reform grant available to local authorities, which they can use to improve the support available, alongside developing new approaches to encourage more people to adopt.

  5. We have launched First4Adoption, the 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. The service can also put callers in touch with adoption agencies in their area. Anyone interested in adopting can call the First4Adoption information line on 0300 222 0022 (open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or visit the First4Adoption website.

  6. Research published by the department last year suggests that up to 650,000 people are considering adoption, but many are put off because of myths and misconceptions about the process. Read the ‘Understanding attitudes, motivations and barriers to adoption and fostering’ research report, conducted by Kindred and Work Research.

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Published 30 September 2014