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Average time for placements falls to 17 months

2,460 children waiting with a placement order

The Adoption Leadership Board has reported that the time taken between a child entering care and being placed with a family has decreased by 4 months, from 22 months in 2012-13 to 18 months in 2014-15. Latest quarterly data suggests there has been a further improvement to 17 months during quarter 1 2015-16. The Board says that these improvements have been driven by an increase in the proportion of children placed within a year, from 27% in 2013-14 to 37% in 2014-15. At 7 months, the average number of days between placement order and match in 2013-14 was a slight improvement on 2012-13. However, the latest quarterly data suggests that this has increased to 8 months during quarter 1 2015-16.

There were 2,460 children waiting with a placement order at 30 June 2015. This is a 17% decrease from 31 March 2015 when there were 2,970 children waiting with a placement order not yet placed with an adoptive family.

The latest quarterly data suggest that adoption timeliness is beginning to decline. In quarter 2 2013-14, 50% of approvals made by local authorities were made within 6 months of registration, while in quarter 1 2015- 16 this had decreased to 29% of registrations. The timeliness of matches has also declined. In quarter 4 2013-14, 80% of matches were made within 6 months of approval, compared to 58% in quarter 1 2015-16.

2014-15 saw the highest number of adoptions from care since the current data collection began in 1992, with 5,330 children adopted from care. Quarterly data suggests that the number of children adopted fell slightly between quarter 4 2014-15 and quarter 1 2015-16 (from 1,240 to 1,140).

Registrations to become an adopter have decreased by 24% from 1,250 in quarter 4 2014-15 to 960 in quarter 1 2015-16. The number of adopter families approved for adoption has decreased by 8% from 1,170 in quarter 4 2014-15 to 1,080 in in quarter 1 2015-16. Our most recent estimate for the "adopter gap" suggests that the gap has closed, and we now have more adopters than children waiting. However, there are still 2,030 children with a placement order not yet matched and the relevance of this measure assumes that matching is working effectively.

The release from the Adoption Leadership Board is here.