Statistics published by the Adoption Leadership Board show that between January and March this year 850 adoption placement orders were granted by the courts, compared with 960 between October and December 2014, a fall of 11.5%
The figures show that for 2014/15 overall there were 3,790 placement orders granted, compared with 5,020 in 2013/14, and 5,920 in 2012/13 – a fall of 36% in 2 years.
The drop in placement orders granted by family courts has been blamed on a ruling made in September 2013 by Sir James Munby in the case Re B-S, in which he criticised “sloppy practice” of social workers and said that LAs must provide evidence that all alternatives to adoption had been considered before bringing a case to court.
In November 2014, the Adoption Leadership Board issued “myth-buster” guidance in an attempt to clarify the situation and halt the decline.
Sir Martin Narey the government’s advisor has also warned that unless the fall in the number of placement orders being sought by social workers is addressed, the total number of children being adopted is set for an “alarming drop".