A new report by UK charity New Family Social reveals that same-sex couples accounted for a record proportion of adoptions in England and Wales in 2022. The report analyzed data from the Department of Education and found that more than one in six adoptions in England and one in four in Wales involved same-sex couples. These figures represent a significant increase from previous years, with one in 31 adoptions granted to same-sex couples in England in 2011. While the news is good in England and Wales, in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the proportion of adoptions granted to same-sex couples was lower, at just one in 10 and one in 11 respectively.
Tor Docherty, the chief executive at New Family Social, said that the figures are “hugely reassuring, not just for LGBTQ+ people considering adoption but also for looked-after children.” Docherty added that LGBTQ+ people can sometimes mistakenly think that their sexual orientation or gender identity will be a barrier in the approval process, but many agencies have come a long way in improving how they work with the community.
The rise in adoptions by same-sex couples is seen as a sign of greater inclusivity and better prospects for LGBTQ+ parents. Damian Kerlin, who has adopted twin boys with his partner, Andrew Taylor, said that the increase in same-sex couples being granted adoptions is “incredible” and will make same-sex adopters more confident. However, there is currently no data that represents single LGBTQ+ adopters, bisexual people in different gender relationships, and trans people in different gender relationships.
The figures come at the start of LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week, and Docherty hopes that the report will encourage agencies to share good practice and improve their support for the LGBTQ+ community. While the news is encouraging, there is still work to be done to ensure that all LGBTQ+ individuals who want to adopt or foster have access to the support and resources they need.