The latest figures released by the government relating to the adoption and looking after of children in the year ending 31 March 2015 have been described by leading children’s charity CoramBAAF as showing ‘confusion and uncertainty in the sector’.
The report, published on 1 October 2015, indicates that the number of children in foster care had continued to rise year-on-year (75% of 69,540 looked-after children at 31 March 2015 were being cared for in a foster placement; an increase of 1% on 31 March 2014), whilst at the same time demonstrating a fall of 15% in the number of adoption placements for looked-after children (3,320 children at 31 March 2015) after a consistent rise in numbers between 2011 and 2014.
John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development at CoramBAAF, voiced concern at the fluctuating nature of the figures: ‘The Department of Education’s new adoption statistics present a complex picture. On the one hand there is the largest rise in children leaving care that we have seen for many years, and at the same time there is a dramatic fall in the number of children with adoption as their long-term plan but who have not been placed. This see-saw of statistics indicates a significant lack of confidence and confusion about making long-term plans for a group of highly vulnerable children.
Local authorities carry the responsibility ... but the current situation strongly indicates that there is a widening gulf that is seriously damaging the prospects for these children. This cannot be allowed to continue, and there is an urgent need to establish a more coherent, evidence-based and child-centred set of principles. We owe these children no less.’
The report can be accessed and is available to download here.