THREE times more children were waiting for adoption in Essex last year than there were families willing to adopt them, new figures have reveal.

Children’s charity Coram described the need to recruit new adoptive families as urgent as there are now more than twice as many children waiting as there are approved adopters across England.

In December 2018, about 70 children in Essex were waiting to be placed with a family, however, only 20 families had been approved and were waiting to be matched with a child, according to data from the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board.

The figures show that 50 children had already received a placement order – a court order authorising the local authority to place a child for adoption – but had not yet been placed with a family by the end of the year.

A total of 35 children waiting to be placed with a family were aged under five and 40 were classed as harder to place because they were either five-years-old or over, from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled, or part of a siblings group.

On average, children in the area were still waiting 357 days to be placed with an adoptive family, despite having a placement order. However, this was an improvement on the year before when the process was taking 402 days.

Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram, said: “There are thousands of children waiting for new, loving families to come forward and give them a permanent home.

“The key message is that we need more adopters from every walk of life to commit to adoption.

“The need to recruit new adoptive families is urgent and on-going.”

Sue Armstrong Brown, chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “Adopted children are among the most complex and vulnerable in society as they have often suffered serious neglect or abuse in their early lives.

“But adoption can have a transformative effect on these children and the testimony of adoptive parents is proof that you can successfully parent children who are deemed harder to place, if the right support is in place.”