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Life chances of adopted children undermined by battle for government support

3 Jul 2019 14:52 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Adoption Barometer – the latest research from Adoption UK – shows that adopted children are twice as likely not to be in employment, education or training (NEET) as their peers, 16 per cent of them have had contact with the criminal justice system and 39 per cent have needed help from mental health services.

Three quarters of adopted children have suffered significant violence, abuse or neglect in their birth families, with a lasting impact that extends into early adulthood and affects life chances, placing huge emotional and often financial strain on adoptive families. There are at least 55,000 adoptive families in the UK.

While advances have been made in recruitment and preparation of adopters, the report argues government policies still don’t address the heart of the challenges faced by adoptive families, and especially families with older children.

Around 3,500 families across the UK were surveyed, asking them to reflect on their experiences during 2018. The research also assessed national policy relating to adoptive families at each stage of their adoption journey.

The report says that 79 per cent of families would encourage others to adopt - despite the fact that 70 per cent say they face a continual struggle for support.


Key findings from the report:

  • 79 per cent of adoptive families would encourage others to adopt
  • 84 per cent of prospective adopters say their social worker understood and supported them through the process of approvals & matching
  • 50 per cent of prospective adopters found the process so difficult that they wondered if they could continue
  •  54 per cent of new adopters experienced stress, anxiety or the symptoms of post-adoption depression during the early weeks
  • 56 per cent of established adopters faced significant or extreme challenges
  • 65 per cent of parents experienced violence or aggression from their child
  •  70 per cent feel that it is a continual struggle to get the help and support their child needs
  • 45 per cent feel that contact with birth family is not well-managed by their agency
  • 24 per cent experienced direct birth family contact outside of a formal agreement – often unsolicited, via social media
  •  Nearly three-quarters of parents agreed that their 16-25 year-olds need significant ongoing support in order to live independently
  • 16-25 year-olds were twice as likely to be not in education, employment or training (NEET) as their peers
  • 39 per cent of 16-26 year-olds had been involved with mental health services
  • 44 per cent of children had diagnosed social, emotional and mental health needs
  • Adopted children in England were 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded
  • 80 per cent of home educating adoptive families would prefer their child to be in school
Read the report on the Adoption UK website.


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