ADOPTIONS across Gwent have reached a five-year low.

The National Adoption Service’s annual report found that 70 children were adopted across Gwent last year, which is one down on the previous year and a five-year low.

In the previous four years, 85, 80, 85 and 71 children have been adopted in Gwent.

In Gwent adoption is managed by the the South East Wales Adoption Service (SEWAS), a collaborative organisation involving the five local authorities, Torfaen, Newport, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire.


In 2018-19 there were 70 children in Gwent, who had the legal authority to be adopted, still waiting. This compares to 41, 47 and 76 at the end of the last three years.

The number of adopters being approved in SEWAS increased to 47 last year and the SEWAS end of year performance report said: “In order to meet its own need for placements, the region needs to more than double the number of adopters it approves to circa 100.

“SEWAS’ response to prospective adopter enquiries is currently good and applicant assessments are completed within the guideline timeframes.

“If the region could scale this up including increasing enquiries and improving conversion rates it would be in a better position.”

On average, last year, children placed for adoption in SEWAS took within 16.8 months from being looked after to being placed. The benchmark in Wales is 13 months or less.

Similarly, it took on average 10.3 months from the time of the placement order to placement, which is higher than the benchmark of six months or less. In SEWAS, 63 percent of children were placed within six months.

SEWAS were better than the national average for the time of enquiry to approval for an adopter. Last year it took, on average, 7.5 months.

Blaenau Gwent is the lead authority for SEWAS. Head of their children’s services, Ms Tanya Evans said: “We recognise the challenges we face to attract potential adopters to meet the needs of children who have a plan for adoption.

“The report shows this is a challenge shared by services everywhere. 

“As a region we are raising the profile of adoption through targeted marketing campaigns in an effort to increase the number of enquiries from people thinking about adoption a child.

“We offer significant training and support throughout the assessment process and most importantly, once a child is placed for adoption.

“The need to recurit more adopters is an issue for all regions in Wales.

“That’s why we’re part of a new campaign launching next week for National Adoption Week called ‘Become the parent you could be.’

“The campaign sets out to encourage people to think about becoming adoptive parents no matter what their circumstances.”

The National Adoption Service reports will be considered by Blaenau Gwent’s social services scrutiny committee on Thursday.