The visit came on the day the Minister wrote to every Director of Children’s Services in the country stating that adoption is a priority for the new government, and calling for a renewed focus on adoption by local authorities.
This follows new data showing that there has been a decline in the overall number of adoptions for the last four years, and that there are more children waiting with a placement order than there are approved adopters. The letter to DCSs includes a checklist of facts clarifying who can and cannot adopt and addressing many of the most common misconceptions.
Speaking during the visit, Dr Carol Homden, Coram CEO, said: “I am delighted that the new government has made this early commitment to renew focus on adoption, with a view to finding more children who are waiting a permanent and loving home. Adoption will always be for the few and not the many, but the plight of this vulnerable group of children has slipped off the agenda amid the political turbulence and uncertainty of the last few years.
“At Coram, we are really concerned about the drop in number of adoptions and the fact that approved adopters are now outnumbered by children awaiting adoption. There are currently over 4,000 children awaiting adoption in this country. Behind every statistic there is a real child who has suffered the distress of family separation and who desperately needs the security of a permanent, loving home.
“Coram works to recruit people from all walks of life to come forward to maximise the chances of finding a match for each child. Whatever your background, religion, ethnicity or family circumstances, if you can offer a loving and stable home to a child then we want to hear from you.”
Michelle Donelan, Children and Families Minister, said: “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.
“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’ve written to councils asking them to make sure they are following the law correctly so that no-one is wrongly excluded.”
In the course of her visit to Coram, the Minister heard from adopters and adopted children about their experience of the process, and learnt about Coram’s long track record of achieving successful placements and how the Coram team supports families all the way through the adoption process and beyond.
Alison and her husband adopted a two year old girl five years ago. She was 48 when she applied, and thought that it might be a problem as her husband is six years older than her. She told Channel 5 news: “We thought 50 would be the cut off, but no, that was put to bed pretty quickly”. She said their decision to adopt has completed their family.
Channel 5 news interviews adopter, Alison.
Channel 5 news interviews two of our ‘Adoptables’ members Danielle and Mark.