New figures reveal increase in adoptions in Norfolk
- Credit: EDP picture library
The number of children being adopted in Norfolk doubled last year, according to new figures.
Children's charities welcomed the news that England and Wales saw an almost 10pc increase in adoptions compared with 2011.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number of looked after children being adopted in the East of England rose from 280 in 2011 to 350 in 2012.
In Norfolk, there were 65 adoptions last year compared with 30 the previous year. The figure for Suffolk has been static at 60 adoptions for the last three years.
Officials from the ONS suggested the 9.8pc national rise could be down to a recent drive to improve the adoptions process.
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There are currently about 4,000 children in care in England and in Wales who are waiting to be adopted and recent figures show that youngsters wait nearly 21 months on average before finding a new family.
The figures show that more children than ever are being adopted between the ages of one and four. In 2012, nearly two-thirds of children adopted (63pc) were within the age range, rising from 62pc in 2011.
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In contrast, the percentage of children adopted aged from 10 to 14 has more than halved from 21pc in 1998 to 8.4pc in 2012.
The government has pledged an extra £16m to help the 4,000 children in care to find a new family.
Hannah Dobbin, policy manager at Action for Children, said: 'We're pleased to see that more children are finding permanent, loving homes across England and Wales. We now need to build on this and keep focused on finding the best possible placement for each and every child.'
'We need to see more innovative approaches to ensuring that children are placed with families that can meet their individual needs and can offer them the stability they need.'
In May last year the government launched new scorecards for local authorities that lay bare how long they take to find adoptive parents for children in care. There are also further plans to overhaul the system, such as publishing a new guide for would-be adopters that sets out the support available for those who want to adopt.
The new figures come after it was revealed earlier this year that Norfolk was an adoption 'hot spot' with the ninth highest number of youngsters waiting for new homes, according to a map published by the Department for Education. In March 2012, there were 110 children and young people on the county council's adoption waiting list. Just eight local authorities had more.
Officials from Norfolk County Council added that 40 children had been adopted so far in 2013. Anyone interested in adoption, can call 0344 800 8020 or visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/adoption