Strong & happy LGBT+ adoptive & foster families

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Frequently Asked Qs

Some quick answers 

Starting to consider adopting or fostering? Then read a little bit about the requirements.

What our census does and does not reveal.

1 in 6 adoptions in England in 2020 were to same-sex couples. But LGBT+ applicants still have an expectation of discrimination. 

News - from NFS & our agency friends

A word from...... James Lawrence, Head of Communications & Engagement

As we head into December - and the close of 2021 - the situation for LGBT+ people in the UK looking to adopt is at best stagnant and at worst going backwards. Sadly, the situation depends on which nation you're in.

It's reassuring for LGBT+ potential adopters in England that in 2020/21 the proportion of adoptions to same-sex couples remained static at 1 in 6. This was the case despite the number of adoptions to same-sex couples sliding by 100 year on year, as the total number of adoptions also slid proportionally.

While it's too early to know the situation in Scotland - the figures aren't yet available - the situation in 2020 was that 1 in 12 adoptions in the country were to same-sex couples. The 2020 statistics recorded a fall in the total number of adoptions from 472 in 2019, to 211 in 2020. Unlike England and Wales the Scottish figures reflect the calendar year (Jan-Dec), rather than a 'financial' year (Apr-March).

Adoptions in Wales similarly recorded a total fall of 30 in 2021 - 20 of which were in the statistics for adoptions by same-sex couples. This disproportionate tumble affecting LGBT+ adopters is a cause for concern, particularly given that LGBT+ people have a well-documented expectation of discrimination when approaching adoption and fostering.

Finally, the data from Northern Ireland gives a sign of how much work is needed in some quarters. Unlike the other nations the data isn't published to a level that allows any interrogation of it to identify adoptions by LGBT+ people. The sole piece of information in the narrative that mentions LGBT+ people -  a key resource for English, Scottish and Welsh adoption services - is this illuminating sentence: 'Some 84 per cent of adopters were different sex married couple adopters and 11 per cent were single females adopters. The remaining adoptions (less than five) were of same sex or different sex unmarried couples.'

There's still no data on foster carers in the UK that allows us to identify how engaged LGBT+ people are with this vital service for vulnerable young people. Anecdotally New Family Social sees increases on the numbers of LGBT+ foster carers year-on-year, but this won't reflect good practice across the board. Or show where more work is needed.

While much has been achieved in recent years there's still much to do. For some of our country's most vulnerable children it's vital that we do it.

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Adoption statistics in England

Adoption statistics in Scotland

Adoption statistics in Wales

Adoption statistics in Northern Ireland


Barnardo's South EastBarnardo's is a member of New Family Social

1 in 6

adoptions in England in 2021 were to same-sex  couples

3 in 4

 New Family Social adopters consider adopting siblings


The total number of children in foster care in England

Looking to provide better services to LGBT+ applicants? Look no further

Smiling Social Worker

Some 60 foster agencies joined NFS in 2019. Find out why we're working together.

Rainbow painted Road

Increasing numbers of agencies turn to LGBT+ applicants. What are your options?

Girl on bench with question Mark - What is the support like in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Support from LGBT+ friendly agencies is rising across every UK country. 

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