The ASGLB data return is completed by every local authority, voluntary adoption agency, and regional adoption agency in England on a quarterly basis. The latest publicly available data covers the period up to 31 March 2019 and is available on the ASGLB secretariat's website.

Following the publication earlier this month of the Department for Education's annual statistical release, 'Children looked after including adoption', the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB) has published its quarterly release for Q4 2018/19. The annual Q4 release covers all quarters in the year, and provides much more in-depth information on adoption in England than the DfE's release. 

The ASGLB data shows that:

  • There were 3,700 placement orders made in the year. This is a decline of 7.7% from the previous year.
  • 3,540 adoption orders were granted. This is a decline of 7.9% from the previous year.
  • 2,800 children were waiting in care with a placement order but were not yet placed as of 31 March 2019. Although this is a decrease from the previous quarter, it is an increase of 6% from 31 March 2018.
  • The average time that children waiting but not yet placed have spent in care has been increasing every quarter for the past two years. In Q1 2017/18, children waiting had, on average, been in care for 479 days (about 16 months). As of 31 March 2019, children waiting had, on average, been in care for 566 days (almost 19 months).

On the other hand, the VAA sector has gone above and beyond in 2018/19 and worked incredibly hard to recruit and approve adopters for the children who are waiting.

  • VAAs registered 1,060 prospective adopters in 2018/19 - an increase of 32.5% from the previous year. This accounted for 26% of all adopters registered in England.
  • VAAs approved 690 adopters - an increase of 21% from the previous year. This accounted for 23% of all adopters approved in England.
  • VAAs placed children with 670 families - an increase of 13.6% from the previous year. VAA placements accounted for 24% of all placements in England.

It is discouraging to see that more children are waiting for adoption and for longer. However, the VAAs' concerted effort to recruit adoptive families and place children in 2018/19 is a testament to their dedication to improving outcomes for children who have had incredibly difficult starts in life. 

We also know, though there are currently no published statistics, that VAAs provide an enormous range of adoption support to both their own families and any families who need it. VAA support services include:

  • Therapeutic life story work
  • Access to records and intermediary services for adopted adults
  • Therapies including DDP, filial therapy, Theraplay, music/art/drama therapy, sensory integration therapy, and occupational therapy
  • Support groups
  • Annual social events
  • Training in areas including neurodevelopment, sensory processing, attachment, and PACE
  • Buddy schemes
  • Mindfulness
  • Creative days, nature days and camps
  • Multidisciplinary assessments
  • Independent support to birth families

We at CVAA look forward to supporting our members in 2020 as they continue their life-changing work for children and families.