Adoptions to LGBT people in England reaches record high while overall number continues to decline

LGBT+ adoptions

The number of adoptions by LGBT+ couples has reached a record high, according to the Department for Education, while the overall number of adoptions has dropped for the fourth year in a row.

490 adoptions were to same-sex couples in England in 2018/19, which broke the previous record of 450 and means that at least one in seven adoptions were to LGBT+ people this year.

Statistics do not record whether single adopters are LGBT+, or whether couples are LGBT+ if they are in an opposite-sex relationship, so it is likely the number is actually higher.

Of the 490 adoptions to same-sex couples, 240 were to married, 100 were in a civil partnership and 150 were same-sex couples not married or in a civil partnership.

In contrast, the total number of adoptions in England in 2019 fell for the fourth consecutive year to 3,570, despite the number of looked after children in England continuing to rise.

Tor Docherty, chief executive of New Family Social, which is the only national LGBT+ adoption and fostering charity in the UK, said: “It’s fantastic to see the increasing number of children finding their new forever families in England with LGBT+ people.

“In every adoption case the needs of the child must be paramount and today’s figures show that a number of agencies now work hard to consider a broader range of potential parents. However, there are still thousands of children in care whose lives could be transformed by an LGBT+ adopter or foster carer.”

According New Family Social, statistics from 2016 showed that, compared to opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples were more likely to be open to adopting more than one child, children with behavioural or attachment difficulties and children aged five or older.

Same-sex couples have been able to adopt in England and Wales since 2005, and in Scotland since 2009. 

Previous statistics also showed that the number of same-sex couples adopting in Scotland had doubled between 2013 and 2016.

The Republic of Ireland approved LGBT+ adoption in 2015, with a 20-2 vote in the senate.