There were more adoptions in England last year than at any time since 1992, official figures reveal.
The Department for Education (DfE) announced that 5,050 ‘looked after children’ were adopted in 2014, which represents a 26 per cent increase on the previous year and a 58 per cent increase from 2010.
‘Looked after children’ are those who are subject to care orders, placement orders, or who have been “provided with accommodation for a continuous period for more than 24 hours”.
Education watchdog Ofsted suggested that the increase could be a result of “increased government emphasis on achieving permanence for children through adoption”.
They also reported that, out of the children put up for adoption along with their siblings, 77 per cent were placed together. While that number is high, it still reflects a drop from the previous year when 80 per cent of siblings remained together.
Last week, Conservative MP Edward Timpson gave a speech to the Centre for Adoption Support in which he said there are still thousands of children “waiting to be adopted”. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families added that “although it’s a truism to say so, the only thing that’s going to change that is by recruiting more adopters”.
In addition to an increased adoption rate, the total number of looked after children rose to 68,840 last year, which is a one per cent increase on 2013. The DfE said that this number has been increasing steadily over the last five years. Of these children, five per cent more started to be looked after by a local authority for the first time than in the previous year. This brings the total of newly looked after children in England to 30,430.
To read the full DfE statistical release, click here.