Huge numbers of adoptive parents put off by system

More than 4 million people in England would consider adopting but are baffled by the system, concerned about continuing support and unsure about eligibility according to research.

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More than 4 million people in England would consider adopting but are baffled by the system, concerned about continuing support and unsure about eligibility according to research.

The research appears to dispel the myths held by many professionals that there are simply not enough people in the country prepared to adopt.

The research, released by the government at the launch of its national “adoption gateway”, showed that over 650,000 people were “very likely” or “certain” to consider adopting imminently. When taking into account people who said they were “fairly likely” to consider adoption the numbers went up to 4 million.

As of March last year there was a shortfall of about 3,000 adopters with an additional 600 adoptive parents needed to keep up with the growing number of children cleared for adoption.

As part of the governments adoption reform plans, children’s minister Edward Timpson today launched First4Adoption– a website that will run alongside an existing telephone information line and is intended to be the national first port of call for all parents looking into adoption.

The website, jointly run by Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Coram, and Adoption UK, will bring together in one place information about who can adopt, how to start the process and examples of people from a range of background who have successfully adopted. The site will also include a “myth-busting” section along with an adoption agency finder.

Matt Dunkley, former president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and member of the government’s Adoption Implementation Group, said initial results from the prospective adopter reports had been positive.

“[The reports] suggest the system will be empowering for adopters, quicker, less burdensome whilst remaining appropriately rigorous for those wanting to adopt. It means that agencies can approve more adopters each year with the same resources.”

ADCS research, due to be published in full next week, showed that, with the new reforms, local authorities estimated they could recruit up to 60% more adopters in the next year. The research will also show the number of children placed for adoption, but awaiting a family, fell by 23% between March 2012 and March 2013, he said.

“This up to date research reflects the current reality for children who await adoption and highlights significant activity by local authorities to successfully match children and families together,” Dunkley added.

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