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Jump in number of adoptions to more than 5,200

There has been a 9.8% increase in the number of adoptions in England and Wales, new statistics from the ONS show. 

In 2012 there were 5,206 adoptions compared with 4,740 in 2011. The numbers apply to adoptions by relatives and step-parents as well as adoptions from care. Adoption of younger children has also increased, with 63% of adoptions for children aged between one and four years old. 

The number of adoptions in Scotland have remained at similar levels, just under 500 in both 2011 and 2012. 

The increase “could be a consequence of the recent drive to improve the adoptions process in England and in Wales,” the ONS said. 

The DfE is trying to simplify and speed up the adoption process, after it emerged earlier this year that there was a shortfall of 3,000 adoptive parents. 

Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “It is encouraging that the number of adoption orders increased in 2012. Adoption offers positive outcomes for children from the care system, providing them with a permanent family that many of them might not have if they remained in the care system.

“We need to remain committed to recruiting more adoptive parents but it is important to remember that any focus on recruiting adopters must go hand-in-hand with good support packages, both to encourage new adopters and ensure the long-term success of adoptive placements.

“With the number of adoptions rising it is increasingly important that the proposals to improve the adoption system in England and Wales are implemented.” 

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