Newly published data from the Scottish government
shows that in 2022 only 1 in 12 adoptions in the country were to same-sex couples, a fall from 1 in 11 in 2021. The drop in Scotland means the country last year saw the lowest proportion of adoptions to LGBTQ+ people out of all the British nations.
Analysis of the latest figures by New Family Social shows that in Wales in the same year 1 in 4 adoptions were to same-sex couples. In England it stood at 1 in 6. While adoptions to same-sex couples in Scotland fell in 2022, both Wales and England saw increases in their figures.
‘This fall is truly troubling for LGBTQ+ Scots who hope to adopt,’ says James Lawrence, Head of Communications & Engagement at New Family Social. ‘In recent years Scotland’s adoption services have never matched the same proportions of LGBTQ+ people adopting as those in Wales and England. These new figures now show a worrying slide in both the proportion and also the actual numbers of adoptions to same-sex couples in Scotland.
‘We do know of isolated examples of good practice from individual agencies in Scotland – such as Scottish Adoption, St Andrew’s Children’s Society and Barnardo’s. In Wales and England there’s clear national strategies – and results – for recruiting and supporting LGBTQ+ adopters.
‘In Wales for example, all LGBTQ+ adoption applicants can access dedicated support through their assessment, matching and parenting – no matter which local authority they go on their journey with – thanks to our partnership with Wales’ National Adoption Service. Similarly all the adoption collaboratives in Wales – which represent all the local authority adoption services in the country – participated in the UK’s LGBTQ+ Adoption & Fostering Week this year.’
‘In every adoption case the needs of the child must be paramount. Poor engagement with LGBTQ+ people restricts the pool of potential adoptive parents, which isn’t in the best interests of vulnerable children. There’s clear evidence across Britain that it’s possible for a country to routinely see 1 in 6 adoptions be to same-sex couples, where there’s a strategic approach at a national level in efforts to broaden engagement and recruitment.’
LGBTQ+ adoption in Scotland
| All adoptions
|Total same-gender adoptions in year
|% of total
| 1 in x
|Rounded 1 in x
Source: National Records Scotland
Limitations of data: No country in the UK fully records LGBTQ+ adoption. The statistics reported by government focus on the composition of the adoptive family by gender - so whether the parents are two men, two women, one man and a woman, etc. rather than the sexual orientation or gender identity of the adopters. This means single LGBTQ+ people, bi people in a different gender relationship and trans people in a different gender relationship are invisible in the figures.
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