Map shows Bristol's adoption waiting lists among the highest in the country
Bristol is among the areas in the country where the most children are waiting to be adopted, according to a new map of "hot spots" across the country.
The map published by the Department for Education to help potential adopters know which local authorities to contact shows the city had 48 or more children awaiting adoption in March.
But Bristol City Council said that its efforts to recruit more people to adopt means that there are now 35 children waiting for adoptive parents, which would put them in a lower category on the new map.
Areas have been split into four categories on the map ranging from those with 17 or fewer children waiting to be adopted, to more than 30, including Bristol with 48 or more.
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In North Somerset the figures from March 2012 showed that 18 to 27 children were awaiting adoption while South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset were in the lowest category with 17 or fewer children waiting to be adopted.
Bristol City Council adoption planning manager Kate O'Brien said the map has been put together to help those looking to adopt rather than to show how local authorities are performing.
"If you looked to a big city and they were only looking for adoptees for ten children it could be that they are fantastically efficient, or it could be their performance in considering adoption for children could be lower."This map is not for performance, it is results for anybody who is interested in adoption who wishes to apply to see which authorities are most likely to be recruiting. You would not want to apply to an agency with very few children."
The city council successfully adopts about 40 children a year.
About 15 per cent of children in care in Bristol leave to be adopted, compared to the national average of 11 per cent.
Ms O'Brien said that the council has run more courses this year for people looking to adopt and as a result fewer children are waiting to be adopted. She said: "There is a national shortage of Adoptees so in the April 2012 to April 2013 financial year we ran a new course."Ms O'Brien added: "We are very strong on our equalities issues and consider anybody who has got the capacity to provide an adoptive family can come in any shape."It could be a single person, a married couple, a same sex couple, as long as they are active and healthy enough and can provide a secure home we would like to consider them."Ms O'Brien said the authority was particularly interested in hearing from people just outside of Bristol because sometimes children need to homed in a different area from where they have previously lived. A new information and advice telephone line has been launched alongside the adoption maps staffed by people who already adopt to give advice for those looking into adoption.
Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minster, said: "Today we are providing potential adopters with the tools they need to find children who need adopting right across the country. Together the telephone infoline and the new 'hot spots' map will arm would-be adopters with the information they need to approach any local area.
"We know many potential adopters out there can provide children with loving, stable homes but simply don't know where to start. These new tools will give many more people support in taking the first steps to adopting a child and giving them the chance to succeed in life."
The adoption map is available at www.education.gov.uk/a00219985/adoption-maps and the helpline run by First4Adoption and funded by the Department for Education is available on 0300 222 0022.