Scotland facing adoption crisis as number of applicants drops by 16 per cent, charity reveals

Scotland is facing a looming adoption crisis, with people being put off by “myths” about their eligibility, the director of an adoption charity has revealed.

Myths need to be curbed if figures are to improve, the charity has said. Picture: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Myths need to be curbed if figures are to improve, the charity has said. Picture: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

The number of people coming forward to look after a child has dropped by more than 16 per cent in just one year.

Speaking at the launch of Adoption Week Scotland 2019, Stephen Small, director of the St Andrew’s Children’s Society, said he wanted to “put the record straight” by dispelling inaccurate views.

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These include the myths that people cannot adopt if they are single; in a relationship but not married; if they are part of the LGBT+ community; if they already have children; do not own their own home or have a disability or health issue.

The Edinburgh-based charity, which earlier this year targeted Scotland’s LGBT nightclubs to boost the number of gay and single adopters, has released figures from the National Registers of Scotland which show there were 543 adoptions in Scotland in 2017, with 359 made by people who had no relation to the child.

In 2018 there were only 471 adoptions, with only 301 made by people who were not related to the youngster.

Mr Small said more needed to be done to help vulnerable children and he wanted to get across the message that “yes, you can adopt”.

“When single people get in touch with us for the first time one their first questions is often: ‘Can I adopt if single?’ This is just one of the many myths about adoption that we would like to set the record straight about.

“For some ‘myths’ certain conditions would need to be met. For example, there would need to be a two-year age gap between the birth child and the adopted child.”

To boost the number of children across Scotland being given a permanent home through adoption, the charity is hosting three adoption information events.

The first is on 19 November at its office in Aberdeen, followed by one in its Edinburgh office on 20 November and the third at the Time Capsule in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.

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The charity is the only agency in Scotland offering SafeBase parenting training to adopters and foster carers. This focuses on analysing and finding solutions to problems and behavioural issues which may arise in a child’s life following the upheaval of settling into life with a new family.

Michael, a member of the LGBT+ community who adopted his six-year-old son through the charity, said it had changed their lives “immeasurably. Being an adoptive parent is the most incredible thing. I’m now a dad – I always wanted to be one but never thought I would be.

“I’d recommend that anyone who would like to adopt but has held back from making that step because they think they’ll not be allowed, for whatever reason, to contact St Andrew’s Children’s Society.”