The number of court orders placing children for adoption has fallen sharply since last year, new government figures reveal.
According to Department for Education report, just 760 ‘placement orders’ were issued by the courts between April and June this year, compared to more than twice as many – 1,550 – in the three months between July and September last year.
As the name suggests, placement orders grant local authorities permission to place children in their care for adoption.
According to a report on Children & Young Now, this drop has been linked to the much discussed Appeal Court case Re B-S which took place last September. This involved an appeal by a mother against the adoption of her two children. The President of the Family Division said too many councils were failing to properly consider alternatives to adoption and were guilty of “sloppy practice” in their approach to the issue.
Sir James Munby said:
“[This] is simply unacceptable in a forensic context where the issues are so grave and the stakes, for both child and parent, so high.”
When seeking placement orders, councils must demonstrate that they have fully considered alternatives to breaking the child’s link with their birth families.
The fall in placement orders comes against a sharp rise in the overall number of adoptions. A record-breaking 5,050 took place in the year to 2014, 26 per cent more than in the previous year, and close to two thirds more than in 2010/11.
But Andy Elvin of the fostering and adoption charity Tact believes the the overall adoptions are, however, now likely to drop as fewer placement orders are applied for by councils and issued by the courts.
Read the Department for Education report here.
Photo by enggul via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence