Adoption agencies launch #YouCanAdopt campaign backed by DfE

Fiona Simpson
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A coalition of adoption agencies across the UK have joined forces to take part in a new awareness campaign supported by the Department for Education.

The campaign aims to encourage prosepective adopters to consider older children. Picture: #YouCanAdopt
The campaign aims to encourage prosepective adopters to consider older children. Picture: #YouCanAdopt

The #YouCanAdopt campaign aims to dispel myths over who can adopt and clearly explain the adoption process.

It also aims to target potential parents from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, as these children traditionally wait longer to be matched with a new adoptive family. 

It is also designed to encourage potential adoptive parents to consider adopting older children, sibling groups and those with complex health needs or a disability.

Latest government figures show that there are more than 3,000 children waiting for adoption across the UK yet adoptions in England have fallen by a third over the last four years.

However, Adopt Thames Valley, the regional adoption agency run by Oxfordshire Council, which is backing the campaign, has reported a 14 per cent increase in enquiries since early April.

“However, considerable delays to court processes due to Covid-19 means there will be many more children who will need adopting come the autumn,” Adopt Thames Valley said.

Meanwhile, Coram Ambitious for Adoption, London’s leading adoption agency, reported a 24 per cent increase in people coming forward from March to August compared with the same period last year. 

Sue Lowndes, managing director of Coram Ambitious for Adoption, said: “At the height of lockdown in May 2020, we saw more than double the number of enquiries than the same time last year.”

In the West Midlands, a survey carried out by Birmingham Children’s Trust, which is taking part in the campaign, found that 43 per cent of adults said they had considered adoption or would consider adoption in future but of these 56 per cent do not feel they know much about the adoption process.

A new report by #YouCanAdopt and the DfE found that some of the biggest misconceptions around eligibility are that single people, older people, and those who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) are not allowed to adopt.

Some 70 per cent of people over the age of 50-years-old think they would be either ineligible to adopt or were unsure if they were eligible to adopt, 44 per cent said single people would be either ineligible to adopt or were unsure if they were eligible to adopt and 37 per cent said the same about people who identify as LGBTQ+.

In a film released to celebrate the launch of the campaign, adoptive families recite a poem written by comedian, writer and adoptee Joy Carter, which brings to life the stories of each of the families.

Theresa Kane, head of service at Birmingham Children’s Trust Adoption Agency, said: “The future of many children depends on adults exploring adoption and taking the first step towards becoming an adoptive parent. We need to address misunderstandings and outdated views to ensure that nobody is discouraged from taking the first important step towards adopting a child. Some people assume that because of their age or marital status they won’t be able to adopt, but that is simply not true, adoption is a choice for people who want to become a parent.”

Teresa Rogers, head of Adopt Thames Valley, said: “We are very excited to be supporting this campaign and keen to encourage more people to explore adopting with us. As a regional adoption agency, we both assess adopters and family-find for children living in the region.

“While welcoming all to apply, we would particularly like to hear from potential adoptive parents who can consider adopting older children, sibling groups and those with complex health needs or a disability. 

“We would also love to hear from more potential parents from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, as these children traditionally wait longer to be matched with a new adoptive family.”

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