Every October, National Adoption Week (England) comes round again, and every year there is a big push to recruit more adopters. (Scotland will be celebrating Adoption Week from 16-23 November). Of course, we can’t overstate the need for more people to choose adoption: the most recent stats show that there are 2,750 children waiting for an adoptive family. 2 in 5 of those children have been in care 18 months or more. And the number of approved adopters has dropped every quarter since June 2015 – the most recent stats show that there are only 1,480 approved adopters waiting.

Even worse, we know that children with priority placement needs (those over 5 years old, in a sibling group, with a disability or of BAME heritage) wait even longer to be adopted.

  • Children of BAME heritage wait in care 65 days longer than white British children.
  • Children older than 5 wait 334 days longer than children younger than 5.
  • Children with a disability wait 219 days longer than children who do not have a disability.
  • Children who need to be placed with their siblings wait 103 days longer than children who are waiting to be placed on their own.

So, it is incredibly important that agencies continue to recruit adopters

This year, though, we also want to emphasise the critical role of good support. Adopting is an immensely rewarding choice that provides children who have had a difficult start in life with stability, security and boundless love. It can also present some real challenges. That’s where the VAAs come in.

VAAs have a centuries-long history of finding loving homes for children and being at the forefront of effective adoption support. VAAs vary in size, with the biggest making around 115 placements per year and the smallest averaging 10. All have strong links with their local communities and focus on finding families for and supporting children with the most complex needs and backgrounds.

VAAs work across regional and national boundaries to provide 24% of adoptive placements across the UK, and significant numbers for priority children. They are unique in making a lifelong commitment to the families they support, working alongside them to ensure their children thrive and they receive the right support at the right time through to adulthood and beyond. 95% of VAAs receive the top two quality scores from their inspectorates and remain at the leading edge of adoption practice.

Our members are constantly innovating and embedding best practice. From therapeutic life story work to parenting courses to educational support programmes, VAAs know that adoption is a lifelong journey, and will be there every step of the way.


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