Survey finds two thirds ‘would consider adopting child of different ethnicity, with extra support’
Two thirds of adults open to adoption would consider caring for a child of a different ethnicity if they received extra support, a survey has found.
Some 34% of UK adults said they could be open to adoption, fostering or caring for the child of a friend or family member in the future, with 17% open to adoption specifically, polling for the charity Home for Good found.
More than half (52%) of those open to adoption or fostering, or those who have already done so, said they would prefer to care for a child of similar ethnicity to themselves.
Black respondents were most likely to say this (63%) compared with 60% of adults from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background and 30% of white people.
But 66% of adults open to adoption or fostering, or those who have already done so, said they would consider adopting a child of a different ethnicity if they were given support to grow their awareness of the child’s heritage.
The latest figures from the Department for Education suggest about 2,400 children are waiting for adoption, but there are just over 1,800 approved adopters who are ready to give them a home.
Black and minority ethnic children often wait the longest to be adopted, according to the DfE.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said in October there is “no acceptable reason” to block adopters from registering simply because there are no children of the same ethnicity waiting to be adopted.
Figures shared by the Government’s Race Disparity Unit show that, between 2015 and 2019, the number of black looked-after children who were adopted went down by 50%, Home for Good said.
Savanta ComRes questioned 10,631 UK adults for the charity between October 9 and November 1.
This included 382 black adults, of whom 209 were open to adopting or fostering, or had already done so.
Reasons for wanting to adopt a child of a similar ethnicity included potentially feeling more connected to the child, and anxiety about a child of a different ethnicity being bullied, treated differently or not accepted by family and friends.
Black adults were also most open to considering adoption, fostering or long-term care for the child of a friend or family member in the future.
Almost two thirds (63%) of black respondents said they were open to the above, compared with 52% of BAME adults and 31% of white adults.
Respondents in London (25%) and Northern Ireland (27%) were most open to adopting.
Dr Krish Kandiah (pictured), founding director of Home for Good, said: “While debate around the ethics of transracial matching continue, this research indicates that in order to meet the needs of black children waiting too long for adoption, the focus needs to be on recruiting adopters from black communities as the preference among most adopters is for a child who looks like them.”
He added: “It is vital that we continue to understand the barriers that black individuals face in approaching adoption and take steps to enable black adopters to feel confident in stepping forward to adopt. Only then can we ensure that black children are not left waiting too long.
“However, it is also encouraging to see that many people would be open to adopting a child of a different ethnicity if they were given appropriate support and cultural upskilling.”
The Government must consider how it can work with regional adoption agencies and charities to help adopters feel confident in meeting the needs of a child of a different ethnicity, he said.
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