Adoption trends

Are Adoption and special guardianship additions to care rather than replacements?

This study provides an updated version of my earlier Community Care article that I produced for the Care Crisis Review. It shows worrying trends in adoption and special guardianship. See the updated article here community care update

This shows that local authorities with high rates of children leaving care for adoption and special guardianship have also increased the numbers still in care. The third of local authorities who were high users of adoption and Special Guardianship had over 17,000 children leaving to these permanency options over the last five years and the numbers in care at the end of the period went up by 2,700 or nearly 11%. The third of local authorities with  the lowest number of children leaving care to permanence had a reduction of 634 children in care a reduction of 3.2%.

It’s like an o-level maths problem:

  • one third of local authorities has around 25,000 children in care takes out 17,000 over the next 5 years and ends up with 27,700
  • the second third has 20,200 takes out  12,700 children and ends up with  21,300
  • the last third has 19,700 takes out 10,100 and ends up with 19,100

What is the formula for the relationship between children leaving care for adoption and special guardianship and the numbers in care?

Trends in the number of children aged under 18 on 31st March who have been placed in adoption and special guardianship with projections based on the 2017 rates of adoption and secial guardianship being maintained in future years

Adoption & SG Trends

More children today living with special guardians or adopted parents than there are children in care

The study shows that because of the increases in adoption and special guardianship since 2000 the number of children separated from their parents through being in care or being adopted or in special guardianship has increased substantially and there are likely to be more children today living with special guardians or adopted parents than there are children in care. Not only has there been this substantial increase but if adoption and special guardianship placements carry on a current rates there will continue to be further large increases for many years to come. The graph below shows these trends and projections.

The data for these new calculations is based on a freedom of information reqest to the Department for Education which confirm the accuracy of my original estimates. If you are interested the data used and how calcualtions have been made are given below

Adoption calculations for this data