National Adoption Week – older children still waiting for their forever family


New statistics published at the start of National Adoption Week (19-25 October 2015) reveal that the average age of children waiting to be placed in adoptive families is just 4 years old.

It is well known that many prospective adopters are looking for an infant over an older child, but it may surprise many people that the average age of children waiting to be adopted is so low.

The statistics were gathered by national adoption information service, First4Adoption. They are based on information from the National Adoption Register – the database which records the details of children who have waited the longest to be matched with adoptive families.

The service has also released the results of a survey examining people’s attitudes to adoption, families and children, which include some promising findings and may encourage potential adopters to think about choosing an older child.

The survey identified that people who live with children are twice as likely to say that children of 4 and over are less demanding than children under the age of 4.

It also found that 43% of under-40s say they would consider adopting in the future

It also highlighted that age doesn’t have to be a barrier as 54% of people aged 41-66 living with young children say that is makes them feel younger.

As a council we have an established adoption support team, available to all our adoptive families, who will work with, help and support them through any difficulties.

In response to the statistics, Paul Johnson, our Assistant Director – Family Support and Child Protection, said:

We’ve found that potential adopters often prefer to parent a baby rather than an older child but what’s surprising is that these ‘so-called’ older children can be as young as four. Sadly it’s these children – particularly those in sibling groups or with complex needs – who wait the longest to be adopted, in some cases waiting more than twice as long as younger children.

In the last few years Kirklees Council has made huge progress in moving children into adoption, thanks in part to improvements in the adoption process, and as a result we’ve managed to dramatically reduce the number of children in our care who are awaiting adoption.

In recent months we’re delighted to have successfully found adoptive families for three sets of sibling groups, with the children ranging in ages between 4 and 7.

We know it’s hard to find families for older children, but we firmly believe that every child deserves to have a forever family.”

Our priority is always to help every child, making sure they find the right match and a loving home which caters for their needs, but finding families for older children remains one of our biggest challenges.

When asked about the results of the survey, Gemma Gordon-Johnson, Head of Service at First4Adoption adds:

 It’s heartening to know that so many people who live with children aged 4 and over find them so rewarding. This flies in the face of the idea that so-called older children are more difficult to manage. It’s also wonderful to discover that the next generation of parents are thinking of adoption as a way of completing their family.

Interested in adoption?

Check out our adoption webpages or call our adoption team on 0800 028 3001.

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