This may have been the quietest National Adoption Week we have ever known – with special thanks to Radio 4 You and Yours programme for inviting me to join a panel discussion about adoption issues and our new campaign group, Adopt a Better Way.
But it has been far from quiet for myself and my team of dedicated supporters and volunteers who worked tirelessly – many of them for free – to launch ABW and our first report, Adopt a Better Way: Not Just for the Children’s Sake.
I have been stunned by people’s generosity, the time and skills they offered, from PR, designers and rebranding professionals, to the stunning posters which were donated and placed around 20 key locations in London.
And a special thanks goes to our lovely Baroness King of Bow, Oona King, patron for ABW who has also adopted three children, and left her busy work and family life to pose with me for a photo shoot at one of the poster sites. We are hoping this will be followed up with some coverage in a national publication.
Although this was a quiet week for media coverage, my concern is that complacency could set in when we desperately need urgent adoption reforms, that everyone will sit back and do nothing because they believe that the government is doing a great job, yet there is still so much that needs to be done.
Here are some of its findings from our study that government needs to be aware of, and this is what continues to drive us on:
Adoption rates are their lowest in ten years
The number of children waiting to be adopted has increased by 15%
A child over the age of 8 has only a 1% chance of being adopted
It takes an average of 2.7 years for a child to be placed with a family after they have been accepted
Compared with 10% of the general population, 45% of children in care are assessed as having a mental health disorder
Twenty seven per cent of children in care have special educational needs compared with 3% of the general child population
Compared to 86% of all 19 year olds, fewer than 40% of children in care in London are in education or employment at 19
We must keep adoption as a high profile topic to remind everyone of the urgent reforms that need to be made, and how we must place the needs of these young children above the bureaucratic system that currently exists.