The number of children in care placed under special guardianship orders in England has rocketed for the second year running while adoptions have fallen.
There were 1,120 SGOs recorded by councils in March, compared with 760 in March 2007, the annual looked-after children’s statistics showed. By contrast, the number of adoptions fell 5% from 3,300 to 3,200 during the same period.
The use of SGOs, introduced in December 2005 under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, trebled within the first year. But some guardians and organisations have raised concerns that the orders, intended as bridging the gap between fostering and adoption, lack financial support.
Today’s figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families also showed the government has failed to meet its target for the number of children placed in long-term foster care. Just 67% of children aged 16 or under were in the same placement for at least two years, falling short of the 2008 target of 80%.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said it was “disappointing” that the target had not been met and there had been little improvement since it was introduced in 2004.