Single parent adoptions reach record high in the UK as family lawyers hail the “Jolie effect” | | THE TELEGRAPH | 27 May 2019
Single parent adoptions have reached a record high in the UK, new figures reveal, as family lawyers hail the “Jolie effect”.
The number of single parents adopting children hit its highest ever figure in 2018 at 962 – a rise from 904 in 2017.
Experts told The Telegraph that adoption by single parents has hit a record high because of a combination of “greater societal acceptance of single-parent households” as well as celebrity single-parents who have adopted children.
This includes Angelina Jolie’s adoption of two sons and a daughter, Madonna’s adoption of four children – including twin girls from Malawi last year – and Sandra Bullock’s adoption of her son.
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The analysis of Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Family Court data carried out by Wilsons, a private client law firm, revealed that in 2012 there were 876 adoptions by single parents in 2012.
This continued to rise to 890 in 2013, 947 in 2014, 935 in 2015 and 951 in 2016. However by 2017 the number plummeted to 904, but reached its peak last year with 962 adoptions by single parents.
Sarah Wood-Heath, modern parenting senior associate at Wilsons said: “It’s wonderful to see that a record number of children are being given another chance, and that the idea of a single person adopting is now so uncontroversial.”
“The traditional family unit has changed dramatically, and there is now a much more liberal perception of single-parent adoptions along with other atypical adoptions.”
She added: “It is great to see adoption agencies treating all kinds of individuals in the adoption process as equals because single parents are just as capable of providing a child with a full and stable life.”
“Despite the fall in marriage rates over the years, many single adults still want to have children and adoption gives everyone the opportunity to start a family and can dramatically improve a child’s life.”
Alison Woodhead, 53, director of public affairs at Adoption UK is single and adopted her 12-year-old daughter in 2011.
She said that “societal changes” were driving single-parent adoption and that while fertility treatments were improving, “the narrative surrounding adoption has changed”.
“When I adopted it was still not that common for or people to talk about a single adoption like it was a completely normal thing to do and now it’s changed radically – there’s no barrier,” she said. “As long as you’re 21-years-old you can be of any sexual persuasion, trans etc, families come in all shapes and sizes.
“These children are among the most vulnerable in society, it’s fantastic adoption is catching up and welcoming all sorts of people in with open arms.”
There were a total of 2.8 million single-parent households in the UK in 2017, making up 15% of all households.
In November 2018 the Department for Education published data relating to the number of looked after children in England including adoption.
The 2017 to 2018 statistics for the year ending 31 March 2018 revealed that 75,420 children were looked after in the period covered, a 4% increase on 2016 to 2017.