There has been a fall in both the number of children granted an adoption placement order and the number of children placed for adoption this year, according to official statistics.
The Department for Education’s Looked After Children statistics, covering the year ending 31st March 2015, reveal that there was a 24% decrease in the former and a 15% fall in the latter.
Javed Khan, chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s, says he is deeply concerned about the drop in adoptions and urges local authorities to act decisively on this issue.
‘There is no doubt’ he warns, ‘that if this fall is allowed to carry on unchecked this could very soon become a real crisis with children who need adopting waiting an unnecessary length of time in care - or even missing out completely on the chance of growing up in their own loving, safe and supportive family.’
He recommends: 'All types of permanence, including foster care and special guardianship must be stringently considered and supported.'
Barnado’s suggests that the decline in adoptions could be the result of the September 2013 judgment by Sir James Munby, president of the family division at the High Court.
Sir Munby requested that local authorities prioritise the rehabilitation of a child to its family while stressing the importance of considering all options for the child’s permanency when care planning.
Following the judgement, the number of children with a plan for adoption decreased by 40%.