Essex: County council defends record after figures reveal scores waiting to be adopted
- Credit: Archant
ESSEX is among the worst counties in the country for the number of children waiting to be adopted, a new map has revealed.
There were 125 children waiting for a family in Essex last March, according to data used by the Department of Education (DoE).
But Essex County Council, last night defending their record on adoption, said that number had now dropped to 64 children.
The figures were revealed in a map produced by the DoE to help point prospective parents to the most-needed areas.
Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “We hope this transparency will help address the shortage of prospective adopters in England and reduce the growing number of children in care who are waiting for a stable, permanent and secure home in the form of an adoptive placement.”
Essex’s numbers compare with 150 in Kent as of last March, 70 in Suffolk, 40 in Cambridgeshire and 110 in Norfolk.
Andrew Webb, vice president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said: “It is a crude measure and while we understand the rationale for this map, it is not proportionate analysis and cannot be used to judge “good” or “bad” authorities.”
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Ray Gooding, cabinet member for children’s service at Essex County Council, said: “I am pleased to see the Department of Education continue to focus on adoption – such publicity is excellent in highlighting to people how important it is for people to come forward to adopt.
“Essex is a large local authority, with a large general population. It is therefore to be expected that we have a higher number of children needing adoption than many other smaller authorities.
“As of today there are 64 children for whom we have received permission from the court to place for adoption who are not yet matched with adopters. We are actively pursuing tentative matches for 19 of those children and actively family finding for remaining 45. I am also extremely pleased that to date this financial year we have matched 90 children with adopters and therefore are on track to match more children this year than in any of the last three years.”
For more information on adopting call 0800 801 530 or visit www.essex.gov.uk/adoption