Same sex couples now make up almost ten per cent of those who adopt children in England, new figures have revealed.
As many as 450 children were adopted by gay couples in the year ending 31 March. This was revealed by the Department for Education’s (DfE) latest statistics on adoptions and looked after children. Although this number does not represent an increase from the previous year, the total number of adoptions has declined. As a result same sex couples now account for 9.6 per cent of adoptions, rather than just over eight per cent as they did last year.
In 2012 only 160 children in England were adopted by same sex couples. At the time this represented just five per cent of all adoptions, so these latest figures show a dramatic rise in just four years.
The split between gay men and lesbian couples adopting was quite even, the DfE figures show. Of the 450 gay couples who adopted a child, 250 of them were male and 200 were female.
Tor Docherty is the Chief Executive of New Family Social, a charity which supports adoption by members of the LGBT community. She said it was “heartening to see that agencies continue to consider and successfully place children for adoption with same-sex couples”. When it comes to finding permanent homes, “the needs of the child remain paramount” so it was important that “agencies consider the full range of potential parents” she added.
Last month, a Christian couple made national headlines when they objected to the possibility of a gay couple adopting their two foster children. The foster parents planned to adopt the children themselves but were denied. This refusal happened because the local authority was concerned their attitude towards gay parents could have a “detrimental” effect on the children. The couple insisted they were not homophobic but, as Christians, believed that “a child needs a mother and a father”.
However, last year researchers from universities in the United States found that gay parents are every bit as capable as straight parents. They made this claim following an analysis of around 19,000 academic studies and articles on the subject over more than 30 years.
Read the DfE figures here.