WARRINGTON-based children’s charity and voluntary adoption agency, Adoption Matters is delighted to support the latest campaign from YouCanAdopt – A Life Less Ordinary.
The campaign highlights the need for more adopters for children and to encourage the public to think differently about adoption and the children waiting longest to find a permanent home.
YouCanAdopt has launched ‘A Life Less Ordinary’, a new campaign to find parents for children waiting longest to be adopted. With latest data revealing there are enough prospective adopters for most children waiting to be adopted, the campaign is focused on finding the right adopters for specific groups of children that face the greatest delays in finding a home. These include children aged five or over, children with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from an ethnic minority background.
These groups represent 65% (1,220) of the 1,890 children currently waiting to be adopted in England, according to the most recent data from the ASGLB (Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, 2021/22). Further, 760 children in these groups have been waiting for 18 months or longer to be placed.
Compared to children without these characteristics:
- Children over 5 wait 13 months longer to be adopted from care
- Children with a disability wait11 months longer
- Children in brother and sister groups wait 11 months longer
- Children from an ethnic minority (excluding white minorities) wait 3 months longer
To reduce waiting times for these groups, the campaign showcases the many life-changing benefits of adopting these children, explores the traits parents need to be resilient adopters, and highlights the support available to adopters and adopted children – highlighting that while some children may be ‘harder to place’, they are not ‘harder to love’.
The campaign also offers additional support and information around adopting children from an ethnic minority background, as the reasons why children from this group typically wait longer are complex and different to those from other groups.
As part of the ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ campaign, new data from You Can Adopt shows that nearly a third (31%) of people in England would consider adopting a child. However, showing the need for adopters to come forward specifically for groups waiting longest, the majority are most open to adopting a child aged between 1 and 4 (88%); nearly four in ten (39%) wouldn’t adopt a child with additional needs, (e.g., a physical/mental disability), and one in four (26%) wouldn’t adopt a brother and sister group.
The survey also reveals perceptions, practical challenges, and barriers around adopting these groups. 42% didn’t feel they had the skills to adopt a child with additional needs and 1 in 6 (17%) would feel overwhelmed by adopting a brother and sister group. Cost and lack of space at home were also concerns around adopting children from across all groups.
However, over half (51%) said they would be more likely to consider adopting a child from one of these groups if they knew about the range of support available. The survey also showed that respondents believed the most important criteria were to be ‘patient’, ‘loving’ and ‘kind’ to give these children who wait longest a home.
Susy White, Chief Executive of Adoption Matters, commented:
“Adoption Matters is delighted to support this new national campaign that shines a light on those children who typically wait the longest to be adopted. We strive to help place children who fall into these groups such as brothers and sisters, children over the age of 5, children with additional needs and children from a Black, Asian or other ethnic background. We place children with a diverse range of needs and from a diverse range of backgrounds. What they all have in common is the need for individuals and families to put their needs first and to offer them a safe, nurturing and loving home so they can flourish. We have always offered ongoing support to our children and families from their first weeks of placement through to support as an adopted adult. We are here for you as long as you need us and we know that is vital to the success of any adoption”.
While at first people may not feel confident to adopt brothers and sisters, older children, or those with additional needs, parents of adopted children have emphasised they have many of the same everyday needs and qualities as any other child.
A new survey of adoptive parents showed more than half (55%) felt adopting had been the most meaningful, rewarding experience of their life. Further, while most adopters (57%) did not originally set out to adopt a child from one of the groups which typically waits longer, 54% said they became more open-minded to it as they moved through the process.
View the film here: www.adoptionmatters.org/lifelessordinary
The national survey found that 70% of the public were not aware of support services available for adoptive parents. The campaign highlights the range of adoption support services available which starts with preparation to adopt, and includes support groups, training, workshops, family days and specialised therapy tailored to families’ needs. There is also an Adoption Support Fund, set up by the Government, to pay for therapeutic services for adoptive children and their parents, as well as specific support for children with disabilities, including therapies and funding for specialised equipment. Adoption agencies provide ongoing support and advice to all their adoptive families.
If you’ve ever considered adopting and want to find out more about the children who wait the longest, find out more at www.adoptionmatters.org/lifelessordinary
Adoption Matters cover the whole of the North of England and hold regular online adoption information events, register a place at: www.adoptionmatters.org/events