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ARCNWC Seldom Heard Forum – Adoption and Fostering

4th October, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

This forum will focus on ‘Adoption and Fostering’. In the UK, approximately 36,000 children and young people enter the care system.

Seldom heard groups refers to under-represented individuals who potentially use health and social care services and are less likely to be heard by professionals, health services research and decision-makers. These groups include; people with disability, Minority Ethnic, Refugees/asylum seekers, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer [LGBTQ} people, people who are homeless, young people, people with language barriers, communication impairment and geographically isolated, to give examples of a few.

Often people in seldom heard groups face multiple barriers affecting their engagement with health and social care services and inclusion in health research. This can start at an organisational level, whereby the process in reaching and engaging with such groups may be perceived as challenging due to the lack of understanding and awareness of the groups needs and absence of collaborative relationships across different networks of seldom heard groups.

The ARC NWC Seldom Heard Forum brings together representatives of seldom heard groups from across the North West Coast for the opportunity to share issues experienced by the groups they represent, good practice in managing those issues and discuss how best to enhance their inclusion in applied health research.

Join us in our ARC NWC Seldom Heard Forum on the 4th October 2023 at 11am – 1pm.

The forum discussion will focus on ‘Adoption and Fostering’

In the UK, approximately 36,000 children and young people will enter the care system in 2023. Around 100 children every day. There are 100k children in the UK who are looked after away from home. About 30% of children going into care are aged 10-15 and 70% of children in care live with a foster family

The total number of looked after children in the UK has increased every year since 2010.

  • Abuse and neglect are the main reasons that children are taken into care.
  • Foster care is the most common placement type.
  • The most common reason for a child to leave care is to return to their family.
  • A number of looked after children experience multiple care placements in a year.
  • Children in care have below average outcomes across a range of measures, although they make better progress in some areas than children in need, a closer comparison group.

Adoption (In 2022)

  • 2,950 children were adopted, a 2% increase from 2021
  • The average age of a child at adoption is 3 years and 3 months.
  • In 2022, the average time between a child entering care and being placed for adoption was 1 year and 6 months
  • As of October 2022, there were 1,990 children waiting for adoption. 52% of these children have been waiting 18 months or more.
  • In 2022, Children aged over 5, male, from an Ethnic Minority (excludes White minorities) background, with a disability and in a sibling group were less likely to be adopted.
  • It can take anything from six months to two years to adopt a child, but it is estimated that between 3.2% and 9% of adoptions fail, with the child either being taken back into care, or leaving the family home.

There are many inequalities and unmet health and care needs across the care sector, from the children in care, care leavers (as repercussions of being in care often persist throughout adulthood), to birth parents whose children have been removed, kinship carers (family of friends raising children) foster carers and adoptive parents.

Children in the most deprived 10% of small neighbourhoods in the UK are over 10 times more likely to be in foster or residential care or on protection plans than children in the least deprived 10%.

“Adoption from care is not experienced equally across social class, gender and race divides. The social conditions which foster unsafe environments in increasingly unequal societies (Parton 2014) are not addressed whilst the current focus of policy is on protecting children from their poor parents. The dominant neo-liberal discourse implies that child neglect is a result of parental pathology and individual blame, obscuring structural inequalities and the poverty in which many vulnerable families live (Gupta 2017). Deprivation, poverty and parents’ previous trauma are over-looked in favour of explanations which focus on individual deficits”

(Lewis S, Brady G. Parenting under Adversity: Birth Parents’ Accounts of Inequality and Adoption. Social Sciences. 2018; 7(12):257.

Research can help us to find actionable entry points and assist the development of effective policies to reduce such inequalities.

The forum discussion will include representatives from communities themselves and charities working on Adoption and Fostering in the North West. This will be of interest to: researchers, students, health professionals, commissioners, third sector organisations. etc.


Get your tickets here.


4th October, 2023
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
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