9 out of 10 prospective adopters say the cost-of-living crisis is affecting their decisions about adoption, according to a December 2022 survey by the charity Adoption UK.
87% of prospective adopters said cost of living increases were a significant factor in the decisions they were making about becoming an adoptive parent – for example, the number of siblings they could consider parenting. Sibling groups already spend 11 months longer in care than single children before being adopted.
Respondents also said they would have to reconsider the amount of adoption leave they could take – a vital time for settling children who have usually had traumatic early childhoods.
The survey of the adoption community (prospective adopters, adopters and adopted people) raises a number of other concerns. 89% of existing adopters were worried that access to therapy could be affected by cost increases. 82% said they were concerned that competition for resources could mean support for their child in school will be more scarce. Others were worried about having to prioritise work.
I gave up work to support my children’s needs and now have to return to employment to cover living costs – massive impact socially and emotionally”. Adoptive parent
For many adopted people, trauma experienced in early childhood has lifelong implications for their wellbeing. 41% of adoptees said the cost-of-living crisis was having a significant negative impact on their mental health. 89% said that increased costs for things like transport and accommodation were making it harder to maintain relationships with birth relatives, which for many is a crucial part of their identity.
“Adoptees are disadvantaged because of adoption trauma … The cost-of-living crisis affects us more deeply than if we hadn’t been adopted.” Adopted person
Adoption UK is calling for an urgent review of financial support for adopters and adoptees, and for lifelong support for adopted people.
CEO Emily Frith said: “Most adopted children have an extremely difficult early childhood, which often has a lasting impact. Without the right support, it can mean adopted people don’t have an equal chance in life. It’s vital that the cost-of-living crisis doesn’t drive even greater inequality between adopted people and their peers. But nearly all those who responded to our survey were concerned that the crisis would result in the needs of adopted children and adults falling down the priority list for government. We’ll be working hard with the adoption community to ensure that doesn’t happen.”