Children in UK are left to grow up without a family because of their ethnicity, age, disability or brothers and sisters, children’s charity Barnardo’s has revealed.
A new report shows that a white child is three times more likely to be adopted as a black child.
The proportion of children being adopted drops from one in three when a child is age four or younger to one in 15 when that child turns five.
Approximately 40 per cent of children waiting for a new permanent family have some form of special need.
Some 48 per cent of the children on the adoption register are in sibling groups.
Barnardo’s recently brought to light the plight of these young people by projecting four images captioned, ‘Too old’, ‘Too many’, ‘Too difficult’ and ‘Too black’ on to the walls of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London.
Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: “We believe that everyone has the right to a happy childhood but without a mum or dad to care for them, these children may never experience the love and affection they need to grow and so many of us take for granted.
“Finding homes for these youngsters, whether with a foster carer or a forever family, will light up not only their lives, but also the lives of their future parents too. We want people who are considering becoming adoptive parents or foster carers to know that we are here to support them as they decide to give this gift to those children who need it most.”
Barry and David who adopted a brother and sister with Barnardo’s last year said: “We are so glad we adopted, the children have filled our lives with love, fun and laughter, the odd trying time as well, but we wouldn’t change a thing.”
Currently 7,000 children are waiting to be adopted in the UK – the highest number since 2007.
Some 8,750 new foster families will be needed across the UK in 2012/13: 7,100 in England, 1,000 in Scotland, 550 in Wales and 100 in Northern Ireland.
Two out of three ¬fostering services have to split brothers and sisters up because there are not enough foster carers willing to take siblings.
Celebrity portrait photographer Cambridge Jones, who shot the images for the projection and is adopted himself, said: “Thinking about the children currently waiting to be adopted strikes a personal chord with me as I remember my own childhood. It is essential to do everything we can to start as many discussions about adoption and fostering in as many households as possible.
“Being bold when speaking about family placement is the only option. I want to do everything in my power to attract potential adopters and foster carers.”
He added: “Having a loving home made the world of difference to me and it could make the difference to these children, too.”
Barnardo’s runs an adoption and fostering agency and wants to hear from anyone considering becoming an adoptive parent or foster carer. To find out more call 08000 277 280 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption
Barnardo’s does not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of sexual orientation, race, marital status, gender, disability or employment status.