“It is a matter of justice: the colour of a child’s skin should not determine whether or not they get adopted.”

On Thursday June 17th a transatlantic summit will meet in a bid to stop black children in the care system being left behind their white peers in finding adoptive families. The summit is hosted by the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board and will feature addresses from government ministers from both administrations. The summit exploring the causes of racial disparity in adoption will take place online and will bring together care experienced young people, adopters, practitioners and decision makers on adoption. Their goal will be to better understand the reasons behind the disparities and to find practical solutions that benefit children in the care system.

Black children wait the longest to be adopted in both England and the USA. In England black children are the least likely group to be adopted at all. The government’s Racial Disparity Unit data shows:

The event will begin by hearing from black care-experienced young people and black adopters from both sides of the Atlantic. A previous transatlantic summit found that these authentic voices helped to focus the discussion around the most pressing needs of the children and motivate them to find solutions that work. The event has been organised and will be chaired by Dr Krish Kandiah, the Chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board. Dr Kandiah is an adopted father to a mixed-race child as well as being a birth father and a foster carer. He was appointed by the Secretary of State Gavin Williamson in December 2020 and is both the first adopter and person of colour to take on this role. The summit follows a recruitment campaign launched by the Education Secretary in the autumn, aimed at encouraging more potential Black and other minority ethnic adopters to come forward by reaching out to churches, mosques and the wider community.

  • White children were less likely to be in care (74%) and more likely to be adopted (83%) compared with their share of the population of all under-18 year olds (79%)

  • Black children were more likely to be in care (8%) and less likely to be adopted (2%) compared with their share of the under-18 year old population (5%)

Dr Krish Kandiah

It is a matter of justice that the colour of a child’s skin should not determine whether or not they get adopted. Black children should not be left behind in the care system while other children are adopted instead of them, ahead of them and around them. This government has shown great ambition to simplify adoption, reduce stigma and recruit more adopters from black and minority backgrounds. But we owe it to black children in care to not just do more but to also do better. No one should be aging out of the care system with no ongoing family relationships. My hope from this event is that by getting people inspired and informed on this issue we will come up with creative and concrete ways forward to end racial disparity in adoption.”