This suite of maps is based on local authority (LA) data collected by the Department for Education and Ofsted. The maps contain information on children going through the adoption process and adopters recruited and assessed by LAs. They do not include information on adopters recruited by voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs). Some LAs also work as consortia or contract work out to VAAs and therefore have access to a number of adopters that will not be reflected in data used for these maps. The data are for the year ending 31 March 2012: it is therefore important to note that the situation in LAs may have changed considerably since then. Data will be updated as newer figures become available.

The maps are not a judgement on local authority performance. The maps are meant to help inform prospective adopters about aspects of the adoption system and some of the timeliness issues they might like to consider. The adoption system is in the process of being reformed and all timelines are expected to be shorter following full implementation of reforms.

A new adoption information service – First4Adoption – is available to help potential adopters navigate the process of adopting a child. The service offers an authoritative source of information on adoption including sign-posting potential adopters to suitable adoption agencies, whether local authority or voluntary adoption agencies.

For further information on adoption, please contact First4Adoption on 0300 222 0022.

Access data collected on VAAs by Ofsted here.

These maps alone are not a judgement on local authority performance. The data in the map may reflect other factors not shown. They should therefore be read with the accompanying commentary.

Map A: Number of children waiting1 to be adopted

This map shows the number of children with a decision to be adopted but not yet adopted who were waiting, as at 31 March 2012. This shows that there are children seeking families across the country. Adopters can approach any local authority (or any voluntary adoption agency) to adopt a child. They may also be approved by one agency, and find a match in a different agency area. Many LAs will have larger numbers of children waiting simply because they cover a larger population.

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Map B: Number of children waiting for adoption1 for each adopter waiting2

This map compares the number of children with a decision to be adopted who are waiting to be adopted in each area, with the numbers of adopters in that area waiting to be matched to a child, as at 31 March 2012. For example, where a LA has a ratio band of ‘3 to 5’ this means there could be three, four or five children waiting for every adopter waiting in the LA. Some areas – for instance, Kent – may use voluntary adoption agencies, so may not have many approved adopters showing. 

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1 Children with an adoption decision not yet moved in with adoptive family
2 Each adopter waiting to be matched

Map C: Number of applications approved

This map shows the numbers of applications from people (single people or couples) wishing to adopt that were approved by a LA between April 2011 and March 2012. This does not take into account contextual information such as local authority size, use of VAAs/consortia, and the number of children awaiting adoption in that area.

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Map D: Proportion of adopter applications that were approved or rejected within eight months

This map shows the proportion of adopter applications during 2011-12 that were either approved or rejected by LAs within eight months. Some LAs contract this function out to VAAs. The map does not show those applications that were approved or not approved by VAAs.

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Map E: Proportion of approved adopters matched who waited seven months or more to be matched

This map indicates the speed with which adopters were matched to children in 2011-12, following approval as an adopter.

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Map F: Proportion of approved adopters matched who waited two months or more to be matched

This map indicates the speed with which adopters were matched to children in 2011-12, following approval as an adopter.

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Map G: Proportion of approved adopters matched to children

This map shows the proportion of adopters approved by LAs who were matched to children as at 31 March 2012. Again, it does not take into account information such as use of VAAs/consortia.

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Map H: Adoption Scorecard indicator A1:  Average time between a child entering care and moving in with its adoptive family, for children who have been adopted

This map relates to the overall experience of a child who is adopted. It measures the average time (over a three year period) that it took for a child who went on to be adopted, from entering care to moving in with his or her adoptive family. The local authority leads this process, working with the child, the birth parents and the prospective adopters, but they share the responsibility for parts of it with other agencies such as the courts and Cafcass. As this indicator measures the average (mean) time for the process, a small number of children who take a long time to go through the process may distort figures for some LAs. These figures should be looked at alongside the range of other information in the Adoption Scorecards, including the numbers of hard to place children who are adopted.

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Map I: Adoption Scorecard indicator A2: Average time between a local authority receiving court authority to place a child and the local authority deciding on a match to an adoptive family, for children who have been adopted

This indicator shows the speed and effectiveness of family-finding. The map shows the average time (over a three year period) it took for a local authority to match a child to an adoptive family once the court had formally decided that adoption was the best option. As this indicator measures the average time for the process, a small number of children taking a long time may distort figures for some LAs. These figures should be looked at alongside the range of other information in the Adoption Scorecards, including the numbers of hard to place children who are adopted.

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Map J: Adoption Scorecard indicator A3: % Children who wait less than 21 months between entering care and moving in with their adoptive family

This information looks at the time taken for a child who goes on to be adopted from entering care to moving in with his or her adoptive family, for both children who have been adopted and those still going through the adoption process.  It identifies the proportion of children who wait longer for adoption than 21 months. These figures should be looked at alongside the range of other information in the Adoption Scorecards, including the numbers of hard to place children who are adopted.

Download map J