Vulnerable children in need of adoptive families are being left in limbo because of public ignorance about the adoption process, a survey for the British Association for Adoption and Fostering has found.
BAAF said the findings, released yesterday as part of National Adoption Week, revealed “alarming misconceptions” about modern adoption. More than 2,000 adults were surveyed from across the UK, of whom 21% said they had considered adopting a child. However, a significant proportion were unaware of the actual eligibility criteria for adoption. Whereas in reality there are no blanket bans, 35% thought that being over the age of 40 precluded adopting a child. Similarly 25% thought being unemployed, 22% being a single man and 14% being a single woman were also barriers to adoption.
There was also confusion over the reasons why children are adopted. Just 29% were aware that abuse or neglect is the most common factor in adoption and 41% mistakenly thought that birth parents more often ‘give up’ their child.
Chief executive of BAAF David Holmes said: “It is encouraging that a large proportion of adults have thought about adopting a child, but worrying that so many people still believe there area blanket bans on who can adopt. It is tragic for children waiting to be adopted if potential parents are excluding themselves before they have even looked into it.”
Holmes added that many people do not realise that adopters were “desperately needed” for vulnerable children. Nearly half of the respondents to the survey did not know that adoption agencies were on the look-out for adopters. “It is crucial people understand the reality of adoption if we are to recruit the right families for those children who need them,” he said.
National Adoption Week