Adoption Week took place from November 5-11. Among the messages to encourage people to come forward was to attack the "myths" that those who are white or above a certain age would be turned down.
The problem is that all too frequently those encouraged to then apply discover that these aren't myths. In their case, for their particular local authority, for the social worker they are speaking to, they turn out to be true. They are told they are unsuitable or that there are plenty of potential adopters already on the books for people from that "category." Thanks, but no thanks.
Some data from Ofsted has now been released showing the massive extent to which those wanting to adopt are prevented from doing so. In 2011/12 there were 25,380 couples and individuals who made enquiries about adopting. Only 4,145 went on to apply and fewer still 3,048 were accepted. By the way that only means approved in principle – not all of them will actually have a child placed with them. Of course some of those 25,380 may have been given every encouragement but changed their mind. The plausible explanation some most of them, however, is that they were firmly told not to waste their time.
These are people wishing to take children out of the care system and instead give them permanent loving homes. The justification from social workers for rejecting them is that they would not be up to it. Of course not everyone should be approved to adopt. The point is that the overwhelming rejection rate of those offering to adopt lacks any sense of proportion of the alternatives. As I noted on Saturday a completely different calculation of risk is taken in maintaining a revolving door for a child between the care system and biological parent, where the abuse and neglect is repeated yet again.
The latest data from Ofsted should also demolish once and for all the baseless claim, so frequently parroted by social workers that adoption placements have a breakdown rate of 20% or more. Around 3,450 children are paced for adoption a year. Last year there were 115 "unplanned endings." That is 3.4%.
What is also significant was that there was no a single "unplanned ending" of an inter-country adoption. These are typically undertaken by couples who pay a fee to an agency to adopt a child from overseas having been rejected for domestic adoption. Often the children they adopt will be even more "challenging" then the ones from Britain would have been. For them to have achieved a 100% success rate last year sends a stark message regarding the missed opportunity for British children who could have been rescued from the care system but remain languishing in it due to such appallingly flawed judgments.