One in five adopters who ask for post-adoption support don’t receive any

Ofsted data reveals gaps in post-adoption support but rising number of adoptions and sibling group placements

Shadow of an adult and child
Credit: Gary Brigden

The number of families approved for adoption rose 18% last year, but nearly a fifth of adopters who request post-adoption support do not receive it, Ofsted has revealed.

Figures released by Ofsted today show that 5,011 families were approved in 2012-13, compared with 4,263 the previous year – a rise of 18%.

It also showed the number of adoptions rose slightly last year, with 4,767 children starting a placement and 3,782 formally adopted – 300 more than the previous year. The number of foster carers approved to adopt also rose by 45%.

The picture on post-adoption support was less rosy, however. Although councils provided support to 911 (81%) of the 1,122 families who asked for a post-adoption support assessment, 211 (nearly one in five) families were left without support or an assessment.

Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of Adoption UK, said it was encouraging to see the rise in approved adopters, but warned the government must continue to support the adoption system and build on the investment its made.

“For adoption placements to succeed they must be well supported, from the very beginning of the process. The majority of children adopted from the care system have come from a background of abuse or neglect. Adoption UK knows from its membership that appropriate support packages are vital for those parenting some of society’s most traumatised children.

“We urge the government to continue the important job of improving the adoption system and are hopeful that the implementation of recently announced initiatives including the National Adoption Support Fund and personal budget pilots will empower all adopters to request and access the support to which they are entitled,” Thornbery said.

Ofsted’s figures also revealed 148 (3%) of the 4,767 children placed for adoption in 2012-13 experienced a placement disruption, showing a slight rise on the previous year’s figure of 105. The number of sibling groups placed for adoption – traditionally harder to place than single children – rose by 40% in 2012-13 (955 sibling groups compared to 680 in 2011-12.

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