The Government has urged local authorities to prioritise adoption and ensure adoptive parents are not wrongly turned away.
New advice published by the Department for Education advises councils ‘not to shy away’ from putting children forward for adoption.
It stresses that age, income, sexual orientation and marital status should not be used as reasons to turn away prospective adopters.
Instead, councils should prioritise adopters’ ability to provide a stable, loving home and whether they would provide the best environment for a young person to grow up in.
‘Since becoming minister, I have been struck by the incredible work that social care professionals do to protect and support children in care – but too many children are still waiting for a home to give them the stability they desperately need and together we must do more,’ said children and families minister Michelle Donelan.
‘There are a number of misconceptions about who can and cannot adopt that I worry are putting off potential adoptive parents.
‘Neither age, ethnicity nor sexual orientation should be a barrier to adopting; what matters is the love and protection a parent can provide. That is why I have written to councils asking them to make sure they are following the law correctly so that no-one is wrongly excluded.’
Education secretary Gavin Williamson commented: ‘Adoption can transform the lives of children waiting in care for a permanent, loving home.’
‘I applaud the hard work and commitment of the social workers who dedicate themselves to giving children the kind of home environment that many of us take for granted and urge them not to shy away from putting children forward for adoption.
‘As long as adoptive parents can offer love, care and the stable home every child in care deserves, I want them to be considered.’