Stark variation in regional adoption rates

New University of Central Lancashire research shows that the chances of being placed for adoption by the age of five varies starkly by local authority.

Professor Andy Bilson shared his freedom of information request findings with the BBC and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, focusing on two year groups of children, those born in 2011-12 and those born 2006-7, asking detailed questions about child protection.

The findings show that Southampton, which had the highest rate of adoption, almost one in 50 children was put up for adoption. This can be compared with a child in Greenwich, an authority with similar socioeconomic profile, where the adoption rate is less than one in 600. In Southampton, which had the highest adoption rate for the younger group, the authority had investigated many more families - an increase from 215 to 454. In fact, in the 20 authorities where adoption rose over five years, the number of children in care had risen as well.

Over the last decade, the number of children in care has risen by 134 per cent, with far more children being put on child protection plans because of ‘emotional abuse’ and neglect - roughly 82 per cent of the children in the younger group.