Councils report shortfall in suitable families as adoptions rise

By Tristan Donovan

| 24 April 2013

More children are being adopted, but councils need to do more to recruit the "right" adopters, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has said.

father with son

The ADCS says that councils need to do more to attract suitable adopters.

Data gathered by the ADCS from 122 English councils found that 43 per cent more children had been matched with an adoptive family in the year to 31 March 2013 than in the year before.

The figures also predict that by 31 March 2014, councils and voluntary adoption agencies will have recruited enough adopters to more than meet the expected rise in the number of children needing adoption.

Andrew Webb, president of the ADCS, said the figures paint “a picture of an adoption landscape that is brighter than many predicted”.

“It shows the real progress that has been made in increasing the number of children placed with adoptive families,” he said.

But the ADCS’s report on the data warned that the adopters being recruited are not necessarily meeting the needs of children waiting for adoption, since every council had children and adopters on waiting lists.

“This suggests that the challenge facing local authorities collectively is not one of a shortfall in the absolute number of adopters, but a shortfall in suitable adopters that can meet the needs of the children waiting,” said the report.

It said local authorities need to go further with collaborative efforts to understand the needs of children in need of adoption and who they should aim to recruit as adopters.

The ADCS figures suggest that by 31 March 2014, councils and adoption agencies will have recruited 4,500 adopters – enough to meet the expected 3,600 required to match the increase in the number of children needing adoption, plus 900 towards the 2,000 to 3,000 adopters needed to reduce the number of children waiting for adoption.

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