Family courts are four times more likely to refuse adoption applications than they were four years ago, new figures reveal.
Courts refused to authorise adoption following a local authority application on 250 occasions last year, according to data from the Department for Education. In 2012, thy did so on just 60 occasions.
Family courts have refused to make adoption orders a total of 880 occasions times over the four years in question.
Councils have put forward fewer children – 12,570 in 2016, down from 16,640 two years earlier.
This trend has been linked to the influence of Re B-S, a 2013 ruling by Family Division President Sir James Munby. In his judgement Sir James stressed that too many adoption applications failed to reach the necessary standards and that too many local authorities were unable to demonstrate that they had considered all available alternative to the drastic step of adoption.
Such was the influence of the ruling that the President later stressed that he had not changed the law and that adoption should still be pursued when it was clearly in a child’s best interests.