Charity chief warns of ‘tragedy’ if adoption progress is reversed

Adoption UK chief made warning after statistics showed a sharp decline in the number of children placed for adoption

A long-term decline in national adoption numbers would be a “tragedy”, a charity chief has warned, after official figures showed the number of placement orders is continuing to fall.

Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of Adoption UK, made the warning after Adoption Leadership Board statistics revealed another sharp decline in the number of children placed for adoption between October and December 2014.

At the end of December, 740 placement orders had been made for children, a 52% drop compared to figures between July – September 2013, when 1,550 orders were made.


This is the fifth consecutive quarter where a fall in orders has been made. Thornbery said the continuing decline over the past year has been “worrying”.

“I continue to hear that many children are being denied the option of adoption as a consequence of court judgments that did not change the law. The fact that this decline appears to be variable across the country suggests that there is an inconsistent response to the judgments,” he said.

Thornbery added that he thinks “a range of factors are at play”, which impact inconsistently on decision making for children.

‘Children will bear the brunt’

“It would be a tragedy if all the progress we have made over the last five years in ensuring that adoption happens for those children for whom it is exactly the right option, are lost and we end up back where we started.

“Children will be those who bear the main cost of this,” Thornbery said.

He also voiced concerns about the number of times a child has had their plan for adoption changed.

“This happened in 1,450 cases last year, often as a consequence of not being able to find a suitable family. It is essential therefore that we do not lose the impetus on people coming forward to adopt,” Thornbery said.

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