Same-sex couple adoption rates are rising in England and Wales


A record proportion of adoptions in England and Wales in 2022 were among same-sex couples.

In 2022, more than one in six (540 out of 2,950) adoptions in England were to same-sex couples – the “highest proportion ever”, according to New Family Social, a charity that analyzed data from the Department for Education.

That’s an increase of 17 cents over the previous year and a huge jump from 31 cents in 2011.

In Wales, one in four adoptions was from same-sex couples in 2022, the highest proportion of any British nation.

Tor Docherty, executive director of New Family Social, said the news was “very reassuring, not just for LGBTQ+ people considering adoption, but for children in care”.

“The needs of these children are paramount in any adoption decision, and LGBTQ+ people are an invaluable pool of potential parents,” added Docherty.

“LGBTQ+ people may mistakenly think that their sexual orientation or gender identity will be a barrier in the approval process, but many agencies have come a long way to improve how they work with our community.”

The numbers come as LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week begins.

While the news is good in England and Wales, in Northern Ireland and Scotland the proportion of adoptions granted to same-sex couples was only one in ten and one in eleven, respectively.

Same-sex couples have only been allowed to adopt in Northern Ireland since 2013 (compared to 2002 in England and Wales and 2009 in Scotland), and success rates are historically lagging. In 2018, the Department of Health said this could be due to the lengthy adoption procedures.

Docherty said it was “less clear” why “the proportion of same-sex couples adopting in Scotland is much lower than in Wales and England”.

“We like working with agencies to see where best practices that work in one country can be applied in another,” added Docherty.

Damian Kerlin, who adopted twins with his partner, believes the new stats will make same-sex adopters more confident (Supplied)

Damian Kerlin from Cardiff is a parent to twins with his partner Andrew Taylor.

He thinks the increase in same-sex couples being granted adoptions is “incredible”.

“It makes me excited and I think it’s incredible,” Damian tells PinkNews. “It shows local authorities, agencies and people making decisions that things are really changing,

“Visibility has always been an essential part of transforming LGBTQ+ communities and building trust. When we adopted six years ago, there wasn’t that much visibility for us, so it’s really nice to see those numbers.”

There is no data representing single LGBTQ+ users, bisexual people in different gender relationships, and trans people in different gender relationships.

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Adam Bradshaw

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