The Department for Education’s annual ‘Children looked after in England, including adoption’ also reveals a 15 per cent increase on the number of children adopted in the same period a year earlier.
While the children and families minister Edward Timpson said the rise in the number of adoptions is encouraging, he argued that too many children are ‘still waiting too long for stable, loving homes’ and that more needs to be done to recruit adoptive parents.
Mr Timpson went on to say that he hoped to see results delivered from the Adoption Reform Grant, launched in January to encourage local authorities to find more prospective adoptive parents, and the new Adoption Support Fund to help adopters to access therapeutic support for their children.
The Department for Education has also launched an online service and information line, First4Adoption, for prospective adopters.
He added, ‘Adoption is not the right approach for every child. We are improving the skills of social workers so they are able to judge what is best for each child and taking forward comprehensive reforms to fostering services and children’s residential care. Our reforms will ensure children are given the stability they deserve and the care that bests meets their needs.’
Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of the charity Adoption UK, said, ‘It is very encouraging that adoptions are on the rise. Adoption offers positive outcomes for children from the care system, providing them with a permanent family that many of them might not have if they remained in the system.
‘While the increase in adoptions to record levels is welcome news, the lack of any significant reduction in the length of time that looked after children awaiting adoption wait to be matched with prospective adopters is disappointing. The Government needs to remain committed to recruiting more adoptive parents and continue their work ensuring the adoption process is robust and accessible.
'It is important to remember that any focus on recruiting adopters must go hand-in-hand with good support packages, both to encourage new adopters and ensure the long-term success of adoptive placements.’