Children waiting for adoption in Yorkshire and the Humber outnumber hopeful families by three to one, new figures have revealed, amid concerns over the impact of societal change and recent court decisions.
Across the region, data from the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB) shows, there are 450 children waiting to be adopted, with a fifth being from black, Asian, or minority ethnic backgrounds and 60 per cent part of a sibling group.
The analysis nationwide, published to mark the start of National Adoption Week, shows 4,140 youngsters waiting to be adopted, with just 1,700 families ready to be matched.
Recent court cases may be impacting on the number of children put up for adoption, experts say, while advances in fertility treatment mean there could be fewer families looking to adopt.
“Not that long ago there were more adopters than children as courts were considering adoption as a last resort and trying to place children within extended family,” said Samantha Parkin, the area manager for Yorkshire and the Humber.
“There were a few court decisions in favour of adoption instead of family and it has swung back the other way.
“Often people don’t realise they can adopt and think that because they’re single, or older, they may not be allowed. There is a general lack of understanding around adoption – it is still viewed in the public a bit like the television programme Long Lost Family.”
Sue Armstrong Brown, the chief executive of Adoption UK, added: “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.”