Barnardo’s children’s charity has said it is deeply concerned about a 24% fall in the number of children being put forward for adoption.
The charity was responding to statistics from the Department for Education (DfE).
The DfE’s Looked After Children statistics 2015 reveal a 24% decrease in the number of children granted an adoption placement order – as well as a 15% decrease in the number of children placed for adoption this year (March 2014-2015).
Figures show there were 5,330 looked after children adopted during the year ending 31 March 2015.
The number of looked after children placed for adoption at 31 March has fallen by 15% in 2015 to 3,320.
However, finalised adoptions continue to increase – but the rate of increase in 2015 is lower than in previous years, with an increase of 5% between 2014 and 2015, compared with a 26% increase between 2013 and 2014.
The National Adoption Leadership Board has linked decreases in placement orders to the impact of two court judgments – Re B and Re B-S.
In September 2013, the Re:B-S judgment – made by President of the Family Division at the High Court, Sir James Munby – asked local authorities to keep the rehabilitation of a child to its family at the forefront, as well as always considering all options for the child’s permanency when care planning.
After the judgment, figures show the number of children with a plan for adoption fell sharply to 2,810 – representing a 40% decrease – compared with figures for the previous year.
Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, Javed Khan, responded to the data by saying that the charity was deeply concerned about the drastic 24% fall in the number of children being put forward for adoption.
“It’s crucial that local authorities don’t shy away from acting decisively on adoption – these can be tough decisions, but the best interests of vulnerable children must be put first.
“There is no doubt that if this fall is allowed to carry on unchecked, this could very soon become a real crisis – with children who need adopting waiting an unnecessary length of time in care, or even missing out completely on the chance of growing up in their own loving, safe and supportive family.
“All types of permanence, including foster care and special guardianship, must be stringently considered and supported.”
Barnardo’s helped a total of 240,000 children, young people and families in 2014-2015 – and runs more than 960 services across the UK.
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