Adoption register fails to make matches

The long term viability of the national adoption register has
been questioned after it emerged the register is failing to find
adoptive parents for the hardest to place children,
writes Derren Hayes.

A year after being set up the register, one of the
government’s flagship initiatives to boost adoption rates,
has failed to make a single ‘match’ in 12 local
authority, and voluntary agencies across the country 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

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 to inform on trends and best practice.

To date, adoption agencies across England have placed the names
of 1,700 children and 1,400 approved adopters on the register.
These children are often the hardest to place, such as those aged
over 5, groups of siblings, or those of ethnic minority origin or
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

“Local authorities are struggling to place the same children.
This is a well meaning initiative, but what we’re seeing is
that the number of adopters to adoptees doesn’t marry up,”
she explained.

Other adoption experts are also concerned that the register will
be hampered by onerous administration, restrictive financial
arrangements and lack of resources on the ground.

Philly Morrall, director of Adoption UK, said none of its 1,500
potential adopters had been matched through the register.

Since April this year, it has been mandatory for adoption
agencies to feed into the register the details of children they
have failed to place after six months, and of approved adopters
they have failed to match with a child after nine months.

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