The Department for Education has published a map of England showing the number of children available for adoption in different areas of the country.
Counties with more than 48 children available for adoption are marked in dark blue; those with 28-47 in dark green; and those with 18-27 in light green. Counties with 17 or fewer adoptable children are marked in yellow.
The map was launched alongside a new hotline (tel. 0300 222 0022) for people interested in adoption. It is government-funded and run by the charities Coram, Coram Children’s Legal Centre and Adoption UK.
Both initiatives were designed to help potential adopters find information on the adoption process more easily.
A new Gateway to Adoption website will follow later this year.
Conservative MP Edward Timpson was appointed Minster for Children in September. He said
“We know many potential adopters out there can provide children with loving, stable homes but simply don’t know where to start. These new tools will give many more people support in taking the first steps to adopting a child and giving them the chance to succeed in life”.
Hugh Thornbery, Chief Executive of Adoption UK, is optimistic about the initiatives.
“We hope this transparency will help address the shortage of prospective adopters in England and reduce the growing number of children in care who are waiting for a stable, permanent and secure home in the form of an adoptive placement.”
But a note of caution was sounded by Action for Children. The charity’s Carol Iddon stressed that the approval process for potential adopters must remain strict even in areas of high demand.
“It is right that the assessment process for potential adoptive parents should be as rigorous as possible because children and young people being placed are some of the most vulnerable in our society.”
There were 5,1750 children available for adoption in England in March last year.