One of the UK’s main children’s charities has highlighted the sad fact that too many children are being passed over for adoption because of individual personal characteristics, such as their age, ethnicity, disability or because they have siblings.
Children being passed over
The data, released by Barnardo’s at the start of its Fostering and Adoption Week, shows that:
- a white child is three times more likely to be adopted than a black child;
- the likelihood of a child aged four or under being adopted is one in three. This falls to one in 15 when the child turns five;
- around 40% of children waiting for adoption have some form of special need; and
- 48% of the children on the adoption register are in sibling groups.
High level of demand
Demand for adoption or foster care continues to be high, with additional figures published by Barnardo’s showing that:
- the number of children in the UK waiting to be adopted is at its highest level since 2007, and now stands at 7,000;
- an additional 8,750 new foster families are required across the UK this year; 7,100 in England, 1,000 in Scotland, 550 in Wales and 100 in Northern Ireland;
- few foster carers prepared to take on sibling groups, and as a result two out of three fostering services are having to split brothers and sisters up before they can be fostered.
Adoption in Glasgow
The position at local level is highlighted by a new campaign by Glasgow City Council which, like the majority of local authorities throughout the UK, faces an ever increasing number of children coming into care.
Figures from the council show that it is currently responsible for around 3,600 children and young people in care, of whom around 1,200 are looked after by foster carers. Around two-thirds of children in care are there because their parents have, or have had, substance misuse problems.
Over the past two years, the number of children taken into care in Glasgow has increased by around 300, with 200 of these going into foster care.
According to the council, there are currently around 500 foster householders in the region, many of whom are now approaching retirement. The council therefore urgently needs more people to come forward to be adoptive parents or foster carers.
Many people are eligible to adopt
To try and maximise the number of people coming forward, the council is highlighting the wide range of people who are eligible to adopt or foster, and clarifying a number of misconceptions that still exist over eligibility.
The council is reminding people that:
- "single people can foster,
- same sex couples can adopt,
- people who don't own their own home can foster,
- people in their forties can adopt,
- couples who live together but are not married can foster."