With many people leaving it much later to marry or have children, sometimes it can be too late to conceive naturally and have your own children. There are obvious other methods – such as IVF but often, the only solution if you want children can be to adopt.
Historically the public perception of adoption is that people would adopt a baby which has been given up by a parent who was unable to care. There could be many reasons for this but as the world has moved on since the 50s and 60s, there is now no stigma to having illegitimate children and with better support services, fewer babies are given up for adoption.
Nowadays most children adopted are not babies. Statistics from BAAF show that the average age of adoption in the financial year ending 31 March 2013 was three years eight months and only 2%, (equating to 90 children), adopted during the same year were under one year old.
The clear majority of children adopted were between one and four years of age which was 74% (equating to 2960 children), out of a total of 5206 adoptions.
3980 of these were adopted from social services care.
Many children who have been in care can have problems in later life as a result of their early experiences with poor or abusive parenting. Children adopted from care do not perform as well as their classmates at school. In 2013, fewer than half of adopted children reached the expected levels of reading, writing and maths at key stage two, compared with 75% of non-adopted children. They can also have long term problems with relationships – with peers and partners.
The government has recognised that more has to be done to support children adopted from care, as there are numerous breakdowns which may be exacerbated by lack of support. The government now intends to set aside £20 million funding to help children adopted from care. This money is intended to help close the attainment gap with other children, but it will also have the effect of other holistic benefits if children settle better in school.
The government has also announced that some councils and voluntary adoption agencies are being permitted to allow people who have already been approved to adopt children, but who have not yet been ‘matched’ with children to search the national Adoption Register from September 2014. The pilot will allow them to learn more about children who are waiting to be adopted such as their hobbies, likes and dislikes, and hear them speak and laugh in videos and pictures. Hopefully this will assist in ensuring that children are placed more quickly with families who can adopt them and give them stability and security.
If you are interested in adoption or would like more information on any family issues, please contact Shelley Chesworth in our Family team on 0161 475 7622.