Updated: Sunday, 17th November 2019 @ 5:12pm

North West outshines rest of England as adoption rates highest in Bolton and Stockport, new figures reveal

North West outshines rest of England as adoption rates highest in Bolton and Stockport, new figures reveal

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson

Despite only having a 0.3% share of the English population, Bolton helps the most children in the country find a new family through adoption, Department of Education figures have revealed.

Over the course of the 2011/12 financial year, 50 out of 170 children (29%) who left authority care in Bolton were adopted – the highest percentage of all the country’s local authorities.

The town adopted 1.4% of the 3,450 children who found a family in 2011/12, despite only having a 0.3% share of England’s 53million-strong population.

Bolton’s figures are favourable when compared to the previous financial year, with only 19% (25 out of 130) of those who left care being adopted in 2010/2011.

And by the end of March 2012, 515 children - 0.8% of all those in England - were in the care of Bolton authority, a small reduction from the previous year’s figure of 520.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “Our strategy is to identify children at an early stage who need legal permanence and, where adoption is identified as the preferred option for a child, to achieve this whilst they are relatively young.

“We also aim to find alternative ways of helping families with their older children through targeted support and respite care from our Adolescent Support Unit.”

Stockport also held an impressively high rate, with 25 of 125 children (20%) looked after during the year being adopted.

This means that Stockport accounted for 0.7% of all England’s adoptions in 2011/12, despite only having 0.3% of the population.

The North West region in general was viewed favourably by the report.

Over 15% of children in the North West who left care during 2011/12 were adopted – making the area the third most prolific region behind Yorkshire and the Humber (17.1%) and the North East (16.8%).

With 590 of England’s 3450 adoptions (17.1%) and only 13.3% of the country’s population, the region performed admirably.

The North West did, however, have over 11,300 children in care by the end of March 2012 – 17% of England’s total and the highest number in the country.

David Holmes, Chief Executive of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering said: “The latest statistics provide an encouraging base on which to build.

“To make further progress, we need to see a concerted whole system focus on increasing adopter recruitment, speeding up court processes, improving the adopter assessment process and ensuring adoption support.

“We know that adoption works and we owe it to every child who has a plan for adoption to realise that plan for them without delay.”

The statistics show that adoption in England has risen 12% on 2010/11 figures – promising reading given rates had been dropping since 2009.

During the same period, 28,220 children started being looked after by their local authority, 36% of which due to a care order, police protection, an emergency protection order or a child assessment order.

Nearly three-quarters of children adopted in England in 2011/12 were between the ages of 1-4, with nearly 85% being of white ethnic origin.

And of the 93,020 in care at some point during 2011/12, over 60% were protected due to abuse or neglect.

To keep up to date on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.