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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children have been adopted (a) voluntarily and (b) as a result of a court order by (i) social services and (ii) other agencies in Gloucestershire and the adjoining authorities in the last five years. [130198]

All adoptions require an adoption order to be made by a court. When deciding whether to make an adoption order, section 6 of the Adoption Act 1976 requires the court to take account of the wishes and feelings of the child and give due consideration to them, having regard to his age and understanding.The number of children adopted from Gloucestershire and the seven adjoining authorities in the years ending 31 March 1998–2002 are shown in the table.Information on the number of children adopted through voluntary adoption agencies is not collected centrally. However, the actual figure is likely to he very small, as voluntary adoption agencies only place children voluntarily relinquished by their birth family to their care for the purposes of adoption.

Number of looked after children adopted during the years ending 31 March 1998–2002, in Gloucestershire and the adjoining local authorities
South Gloucestershire51010
1 Numbers are rounded to the nearest five. Numbers between one and five are suppressed (—).
2 Because of the small number of children involved in many local authorities, reliable estimates cannot be obtained from the SSDA 903 one—third sample for 1997–98.
3 1998–99 and 1999–2000 adoption data are taken from the Key Statistics Return (KS 1).
4 2000–01 and 2001–02 data are from the AD1, an annual return completed by local authorities with social services responsibilities in England. This return provides data on children looked after by each local authority who were adopted during the year ending 31 March.