Wigan is in “desperate” need for adoptive parents, it has emerged, after a shocking report revealed that there are twice as many children up for adoption than there are prospective families.
Figures released by national charity Adoption UK during National Adoption Week (October 15 to October 21) have highlighted the huge gap between children waiting for families and adopters.
The statistics reveal there are 1,135 children waiting to be adopted but just 407 families approved to adopt across the country. The majority (57 per cent) of these are boys and 55 per cent are sibling groups.
In Wigan, authorities are currently trying to identify families for four single children and one sibling group of two.
The town hall, which is part of a regional adoption agency called Together for Adoption, has revealed that the borough does not have the number of approved families for these children but there are seven approved adopters across the five local authorities involved with the agency.
Councillor Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and young people’s services at Wigan Council, said: “We are desperate for more adopters to come forward so our children in care can find loving, stable homes.
“If you have room in your home and your heart we would love you to get in touch and change a child’s life.
“Adoption is one of the most important aspects of work that any local authority has responsibility for and requires caring and skilled people to make it happen.
“Working with our partners across the region means those going through this journey get the best support available.”
There are currently 23 sibling groups and 35 single children across the region waiting to be adopted. In the last year 85 children in care were placed for adoption through the agency.
Commenting on the national crisis, Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, Adoption UK’s chief executive, said: “Children who are older, part of a sibling group, or have special needs are always harder to match – so there is an urgent need for families who can meet their needs.”
The charity is also keen to debunk some of the common misconceptions around who can and cannot adopt.
Adoptive parents can be single or unmarried; gay, bisexual or transsexual; disabled, living on benefits; and while no upper age limit exists they must be aged 21 or older.
Adoption UK member Dr Peter McParlin was 59 when he and his husband, then aged 55, decided to adopt.
Dr McParlin said: “I was 60 when our six-year-old son came into our lives. He’s been with us for two years. Yes, it’s been challenging, but challenges can also keep you young.
“It’s also been hugely enjoyable, but it would be crass to say it’s easy-peasy. Our son has ADHD and has also had the awful experience of his first adoption disrupting.
“Would I recommend to folk in their late forties and older to embrace the challenge of adoption? I most certainly would, and so would my partner. I’m of the opinion that there are a good few thousand older people who could offer something invaluable to a child desperate for a home, and loving parents.”
For more information about adopting in Wigan, call Together for Adoption on 01942 487272 or visit www.togetherforadoption.co.uk/Enquiry.aspx