In the UK, there has been an increasing emphasis in recent years on reducing the delay in making permanent placements for children who cannot remain living with their birth parents. Adoption is one such plan for permanence. This study examined those factors that predicted a lengthier care episode for a national sample of children recently placed for adoption. The data was drawn from the Wales Adoption Study. This is a mixed methods study that analysed information from the adoption reports of all children placed for adoption over a 13 month period during 2014 and 2015 (n = 374). Children were aged between 0 months and 6 1/2 years on entry into care. On average, the time between entering care and moving into an adoptive placement was 528 days. The results of the regression analysis showed that four child-related factors were associated with a longer wait in care before being placed for adoption. These were developmental delay, externalizing behaviour, serious and enduring health problems/disability and exposure to domestic violence. The procedural factors examined showed no association with length of time to placement. The findings from this study make a substantial contribution to further developing what is known about the timeliness of adoption within the current UK context. The implications for policy and practice are discussed.
- Looked after child
- Social services