More young children being adopted

 

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of children adopted in Britain last year were aged between one and four, official figures showed today.

The 2011 figure was an increase on the previous year, when one to four-year-olds made up 58% of adoptions in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics said.

There was also a 6% increase in the overall level of adoptions, with 4,734 in 2011 compared with 4,481 in 2010.

The percentage of children adopted who were born outside marriage increased slightly to 82% last year, up from 80% in 2010.

Adoptions also increased in Scotland between 2010 and 2011 by 6%, from 466 in 2010 to 494 in 2011.

No figures were available for Northern Ireland.

In a reverse of last year's figures, 49% of children adopted in 2011 were male and 51% were female. Since 1998, the number of male and female adoptions has been fairly even, the ONS said.

The proportion of adopted children aged one to four has steadily increased since 1998.

Last year's figure of 62% is almost double the proportion of 34% in 1998.

Meanwhile, the proportions of adoptions of other age groups has decreased.

The percentage of under-ones being adopted was 5% in 1998, down to 2% in 2011.

For children aged between five and nine, the proportion has decreased from more than a third (36%) in 1998 to just under a quarter (23%) in 2011.

The percentage of children between 10 and 14 being adopted has more than halved from over one in five (21%) in 1998 to one in 10 (10%) in 2011.

The percentage of adopted children aged 15-17 has decreased to 2%, from 5% in 1998.

In total, the number of babies under one year old adopted decreased from 95 in 2010 to 76 in 2011, the ONS said.

Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled plans to radically speed up the amount of time it takes to place children with potential adopters.

Youngsters will be able to move in with their possible future permanent families before lengthy legal procedures are finalised, Mr Cameron said.

Mr Cameron hopes the Fostering For Adoption scheme will give children a better start in life by ensuring they have a stable home as quickly as possible.

Under the plans, men and women who have been cleared as adopters can become a child's foster parent until they are legally allowed to adopt them. Now, local authorities generally wait until court orders are made before beginning their search for a permanent home.

The move will not pre-empt any legal ruling, meaning the youngsters could be returned to their birth parents or other carers.

But the Government hopes it will mean the interests of the children are put first.

A Department for Education spokesman said they were committed to overhauling the adoption system to make it more effective.

He said: "Adoption can be a lifeline for vulnerable children and we are determined to see more children considered for adoption, particularly those who may previously have been overlooked.

"We are committed to overhauling the entire adoption system to give more vulnerable children the chance of a loving, stable home with adoptive parents. That's why we are changing the law and calling for urgent action - both from local authorities and from potential adopters - to reduce barriers and delay in the adoption process.

"We want to create a more effective and user-friendly adoption system - a system which is truly fit for purpose."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss