The number of people who register to become adoptive parents has fallen.
According to official statistics from the Adoption Leadership Board (ALB), there was a 24 per cent fall in registrations since the end of last year, from 1,250 to 960. The number of families approved for adoption also dropped in the same time. Figures indicate an eight per cent decrease since last year. There was also a very small drop in the number of children adopted in that time, from 1,240 to 1,140.
A total of 2,030 children have not yet been adopted even though the courts had given their local authorities permission to find them adoptive homes.
However, the ALB also reported that there are now more adopters than there are children who need a new home. This means that the “adopter gap” between children in need of a new home and those able to provide one has effectively closed.
The time between a child being taken into care and being placed with a new family has fallen significantly in the last few years. In 2012, the average time taken to find a placement for a child was 22 months. The latest figures indicate that now the average time is 17 months.
Despite this improvement, there has actually been an increase in the time taken for potential adopters to be approved. In 2013, local authorities approved half of adopter registrations within six months. In the first quarter of this year, however, they have only approved 29 per cent in the same time frame.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister David Cameron called for the adoption process to be sped up.
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