Plight of the Lancashire children without a family home

In December 2018 around 35 children in Lancashire were waiting to be placed with a family
In December 2018 around 35 children in Lancashire were waiting to be placed with a family

More children were waiting for adoption in Lancashire last year than there were families willing to adopt them.

Children’s charity Coram has warned the need to recruit new adoptive families is “urgent”, as there are now more than twice as many children waiting as there are approved adopters across England.

In December 2018, around 35 children in Lancashire were waiting to be placed with a family, while only 25 families had been approved and were waiting to be matched with a child, according to data from the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board.

The numbers are rounded to the nearest five in the data.

The figures show that 20 children had already received a placement order – a court order authorising the local authority to place a child for adoption – but had not yet been placed with a family by the end of the year.

A total of 15 children waiting to be placed with a family were aged under five and 10 were classed as ‘harder to place’ because they were either five-years-old or over, from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled, or part of a siblings group.

On average, children in the area were still waiting 394 days to be placed with an adoptive family despite having a placement order. However, this was an improvement on one year previously, when the process was taking 530 days.

Across England, there were 4,120 children waiting for a placement order and 2,750 with a placement order but who had not yet found an adoptive family in December.

At the same time, only 1,700 families were approved to adopt by the end of the year.

Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram, said: “There are thousands of children waiting today for new, loving families to come forward and give them a permanent home. The key message is that we need more adopters from every walk of life to commit to adoption.

“The need to recruit new adoptive families is urgent and on-going. Many children waiting are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background, are in sibling groups or are aged over five years. So we need the widest possible pool of potential adopters to maximise their chances of being placed.”

Across England, children with a placement order were waiting almost one-and-a-half years to be placed with a family despite having a placement order.

Sue Armstrong Brown, chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “We’ve known for some time that more parents are needed to provide homes for children who are deemed to be harder to place.

“Adopted children are among the most complex and vulnerable in society as they have often suffered serious neglect or abuse in their early lives.

“But adoption can have a transformative effect on these children and the testimony of adoptive parents is proof that you can successfully parent children who are deemed harder to place, if the right support is in place.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "To ensure there are enough adopters for those children needing a loving stable home, we have been working closely with Regional Adoption Agencies to focus on finding adopters from a range of communities and backgrounds, especially for those who are sometimes harder to place."