HC Deb 21 May 2003 vol 405 cc848-9W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many looked after children there were in each of the last five years; and how many children were adopted in each year. [113376]

Jacqui Smith

The numbers of looked after children and number of children who were adopted in each of the last five years in England are shown in the table.

We do not collect data centrally on the numbers of adoptive families. On 16 May 2003, the Adoption Register for England and Wales included 1,068 families who were approved as suitable to adopt and waiting to be matched with children.

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 overhauls the legal framework for adoption. Adoption support services are a key part of the Act and should encourage more people to adopt looked after children. The Government is determined to deliver early improvements in the provision of adoption support and recently announced an extra £70 million over three years for local authorities to develop their adoption support services.

The Department of Health is committed to supporting local and national recruitment activity, through support of National Adoption Week. The Department made a further £60,000 available to support National Adoption Week in 2002, following a grant of £50,000 in 2001.

The Department has also developed an "Adopter Recruitment" Toolkit and an information video for use by adoption agencies in preparing adopters.