Charity puts fall in prospective adopters down to money fears

A leading voluntary adoption agency has reported that the recession has led to fewer prospective adopters.

Norman Goodwin, chief executive of Adoption Matters North West, told Community Care that the charity estimates that 10% of potential adopters have backed out of adoptions in the last six months alone, citing financial pressures in the economic downturn as the reason. The figure includes both adopters who have made initial enquiries about becoming adoptive parents and those who had already signed up to adoption preparation classes.

“There will always be some adopters who withdraw interest, for a number of reasons, but more people seem to be pulling out now and citing money problems and the recession as a contributing factor,” Goodwin said. “This is not usual. People seem to be more hesitant about making a commitment to adopt at the moment.”

Some adopters faced struggles after redundancy forced them to uproot their family to other areas, Goodwin said, while others halted their plans due to concerns about the financial support they would receive while taking adoption leave. If the trend continues it was likely that high cost areas such as placing sibling groups would suffer, he said.

Goodwin, who is also chair of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA), said that the rate of withdrawal varies across agencies and regions and is not routinely tracked.

However, if it appeared to be growing into a national issue agencies would be asked to track statistics on the rate of withdrawal, he added.

Jan Fishwick of Parents and Children Together, a VAA in Reading, urged policy makers and budget holders to “remain sensitive to the needs of adopters” despite the recession.

“Giving prospective adopters the financial means to consider adoption, and to be good adoptive parents, will meet children’s needs and will cost far less than an adoption disruption,” Fishwick said.

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