Adoption order numbers drop for second successive year

Government figures show the number of final adoption orders made by judges has fallen by over 300 in the past year

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The number of adoptions has fallen for the second year in a row, government figures show.

Judges made 5,825 adoption orders in 2016, down from 6,196 the previous year. The drop is the second consecutive year the numbers have fallen and follows a well-documented reduction in the number of adoption placement orders made by councils, which plummeted from 6,247 in 2013 to 4,301 in 2014

Placement orders and adoptions rose sharply following 2010 as the government sought to increase the number of children adopted. However, both have declined in the wake of two landmark court rulings in 2013, in the Re B and Re B-S cases, which emphasised adoption should be seen as a last resort.

Since the rulings the government has made several attempts to address practitioner concerns over pursuing adoptions. It has published a “myth buster” about the judgments, and proposed changes to adoption law in the children and social work bill currently going through parliament. The number of placement orders has remained relatively stable since 2014.

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