In the UK today there are almost 70,000 children in the care of local authorities, with almost 5,000 children waiting for a permanent home. This number has increased considerably in recent years causing problems in a number of different areas. A large percentage of these children are currently living with foster carers, with only a small amount being placed for adoption and these adoptions are taking longer than they used to. These statistics are incredibly sad and really highlight the adoption crisis that is currently going on in the UK. But why is it happening and what are individuals and organisations doing to make the process more streamlined and reduce the number of children who are currently caught up in the system?
Is it Harder to Adopt Today?
In recent years it has become more difficult to adopt a child. But why is this and what is going wrong with the system? One of the more controversial reasons is the vetting system for prospective adoptive parents. Rather than helping those individuals who come forward saying that they would like to adopt a child, they are treated with enormous suspicion and evaluated against a threshold that seems to be extremely unrealistic. It is obviously very important to put a child into a safe and healthy environment, though many individuals think that we are taking this a step too far.
Adopting a Newborn is Incredibly Difficult
It is a common occurrence that many families who are unable to have a child of their own consider the possibility of adopting an infant and would hope to be able to adopt a baby. The simple fact is that there are very few babies who are actually available for adoption, and many of those that are available suffer from severe disabilities. This reduction in the number of babies may be due to the increase in abortions, a rise in other long-term solutions such as fostering and children living with members of the family, as well as a decrease in the stigma that comes with being a single mum.
Are there Fewer Adoptive Families Available?
Another reason that there may be more children awaiting adoption is the fact that there are fewer adoptive parents who are available to give these children the family that they need. This is thought to be down to two main reasons; the reduced focus the local authorities give to recruiting adopters and the impact that the recession has had on many individuals who think that adopting may result in financial insecurity. It is important that these reasons are highlighted in the local community and people who are thinking about adopting are given the support that they need in order to give them the best chance of success.
Who Can Help?
Thankfully organisations such as Adopt a Better Way are raising awareness about adoption and the benefits to children and society. With this work, hopefully, the number of children in care and waiting for adoption will begin to decrease.
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