Register fails to make matches for children in first year, say agencies

The National Adoption Register is failing to find adoptive
parents for the hardest to place children a year after being set
up, calling into question its long-term viability.

The register, a government initiatives to boost adoption, has
failed to make a single match in 12 local authorities and voluntary
agencies contacted by Community Care.

The Department of Health and Norwood, the voluntary agency that
runs the register on behalf of the DoH, have refused to reveal the
number of matches made in the past 12 months. But anecdotal
evidence from adoption experts suggests it could be no more than a

Launched last August, the register is supposed to suggest links
between children awaiting adoption and potential adopters,
encourage closer links between local and regional adoption groups,
and collate information on adoption for research.

Adoption agencies across England have placed 1,700 children and
1,400 approved adopters on the register. These children are often
the hardest to place, such as those aged over five, groups of
siblings or those with medical or behavioural problems.

Ann Davison, team leader of Chester-based voluntary agency Adoption
Matters, said the register would always struggle to find enough
adopters prepared to take on the more difficult children.

“What we’re seeing is that the number of adopters to adoptees
doesn’t marry up,” she explained.

Adoption experts are also concerned that the register is hampered
by its administrative and financial arrangements and lack of

Philly Morrall, director of Adoption UK, said none of its 1,500
potential adopters had been matched through the register and that
many of them hadn’t had their details passed onto it. “All adopters
should be put on the register at the point of approval, regardless
of whether their details have been released by the adoption
agency,” she said.

Since April this year, it has been mandatory for adoption agencies
to give the register details of children and approved adopters. If
matches are not made locally within six months for children and
nine months for approved adopters, these details are released.

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