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153 children currently waiting for adoptive parents in the South West

Adoption Agencies across the South West are working together in National Adoption Week (14-20th October) to encourage people thinking about adoption to come forward. This appeal comes as numbers of adopters drop to an all-time low and the number of children waiting to be adopted rises to over 150.

Regional Adoption Agencies, Adopt South West, Aspire Adoption, Cornwall Council, the Council for the Isles of Scilly and Families for Children are all looking for adopters who would consider adopting siblings. If adoptive families for these children cannot be found soon then it is possible they will need to be separated in order to find them a forever family.

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Latest figures published to mark National Adoption Week, show that 45% of the children in the South West waiting for adoptive families are brothers and sisters in groups of 2 or more. Figures from the National Adoption Information Service show that sibling groups wait 4 times longer than single children to be placed with their forever family.

Jim Fitton, Head of Operations at Families for Children says, “The majority of people adopting for the first time choose to take a single child into their family rather than considering siblings. Also, it is often in the best interests of the children that a sibling group finds a family together rather than experience further trauma by being separated. This presents an extra challenge for social workers and these factors account for the high proportion of siblings in our region waiting for an adoptive family.”

The Adoption Agencies report that across the region there seems to be a shortage of potential adopters coming forward for single children let alone siblings. They are all at a loss as to why.

A factor may be that Agencies are still feeling the effects of the situation 2 years ago where there were very few children with Adoption Orders but an abundance of adopters waiting for children – but this is now not the case. They want to dispel some of the myths about who can and can’t adopt and urge people to come forward and have a conversation.

Kath Drescher, Adopt South West Service Manager says, “We’re asking anyone who may be considering adoption to think about whether they could parent siblings. There’s no denying that having more than one child comes with challenges but it also has advantages and brings great rewards. And we will be there to support you all the way.”

Cllr Sally Hawken, Cabinet Member for Children and Wellbeing, Cornwall Council said, “There are many children who are waiting to be adopted but some are harder to find a loving home for than others. We do our best to keep sibling groups together because this is what they want, but this can make it very difficult to find the right adoptive family for them. While we need forever parents for all of our children who are waiting, we really would love to hear from people who feel they can offer a home to brothers and sisters to help them all thrive and experience a loving childhood.”

All Agencies want potential adopters to know that:

  • There are children who are waiting to be adopted now;
  • The adoption process will prepare you for becoming an adopter within as little as six months;
  • Anyone over 21 can adopt and there is no upper age limit;
  • Single people can adopt;
  • We welcome applications from LGBTQ and intersex people;
  • Adopters can be of any religion or none;
  • Many adopters have disabilities;
  • Adopters will be fully trained before the child is placed;
  • Adopters are supported throughout the process and beyond the adoption order.

During National Adoption Week there are a number of information events being held across the South West to inform and discuss the process of becoming an adopter and the vulnerable children who are currently waiting.