New figures showing the number of adoptions Britain have revealed that just 60 newborns were adopted in the 12 month period to March this year - just over one a week!
Campaigners say the drop is down to delays in putting children with families, with the processes taking on average two years and seven months to complete.
The figures show that while there were 3,500 children under the age of one in care, newborn adoptions were down from 70 in 2010, 150 in 2007 – and 4,000 in 1976.
Despite the low numbers of children finding new homes, there were 2,450 children placed for adoption. This figure is down by two per cent from 2010, and a 10 per cent decrease since 2007.
The number of children in care has risen by two per cent to 65,520, the highest number since 1987.
Anne Marie Carrie, the chief executive of Barnardo's commented on the figures, saying: 'It is imperative that decision-making is sped up at every stage of the adoption process.'
The children's minister Tim Loughton echoed the frustrations and anger felt by many potential adopters who have felt that social workers tended to concentrate on all the reasons why a person couldn't adopt – they were not in a stable relationship for two years, they smoked, they had a dog, they already had siblings and the gap between them and the looked after child was too small, they did not have the required ethnic background, they did not have a satisfactory support network, or they were overweight or had other health issues that could shorten their lives.
"We need to welcome more people who want to be adoptive parents," Loughton said. "It's a big ask for those people brave enough to come forward and say they're interested in adoption. There's too much of 'don't call us we'll call you' at town hall doors. That's got to change, it will change.
"There are too many children in the care system there for many years, or their entire childhood, for whom adoption would be a suitable permanent replacement. They've got to be identified earlier and we've got to be more active in encouraging an adoption. That's got to happen. It will happen.
"And the whole process takes far too long – the bouncing back between adoption panels and the courts, the bureaucratic assessments."
Have you considered adoption or been through the process? Does it take too long?
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