More than one child a day is put in care in Oxfordshire at a time when the number of new adoptions has plummeted, an Oxford Mail investigation can reveal.

The number of children adopted within the same year of being placed into care in Oxfordshire has dropped considerably since 2015, figures obtained from the county council show.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to Oxfordshire County Council, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, on November 27 asked for information related to care figures in the county, including adoption and foster placements.

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We requested:

  • How many children were put into the care system in Oxfordshire in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.  
  • Of these children, how many were fostered and how many were adopted
  • The figures to then be divided by sex, age group and ethnicity

The data has shown the number of new children being placed into care has increased year-on-year since 2020 - from 287 that year, to 317 in 2021 and 365 in 2022.

At the same time, the number children being adopted within the same year of them being placed in the care system has nosedived.

In 2020, 10 children who were placed in care that year found adoptive homes. That was down to just two the following year.

The numbers for 2022 are currently unavailable.

The 2021 adoption figures are considerably lower than just six years earlier in 2015, when 41 children out of the 347 placed in care were adopted.

A spokesperson for the council said the figures do not “represent the total adopted each year”, as it often takes longer than a year for a child to be adopted out of care.  

“Nationally there has been a drop in the number of children being placed for adoption and this is reflected in the numbers for Oxfordshire,” they added, “However, Adopt Thames Valley continues to seek adoptive families for around 85 to 90 children currently.

“Many of these are part of sibling groups, and there is a particular need for adopters willing to consider siblings to enable them to remain together.

“Adopt Thames Valley also needs more adoptive families for older children, and those with complex health needs or a disability.

“Adopt Thames Valley would also love to hear from more potential parents from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, as these children traditionally wait longer to be matched with a new adoptive family.”

Data obtained from the FOI request also showed that more boys than girls were placed into each year, except in 2016 when the figures were the same.

For each year between 2015 and 2022, highest proportion children put into care as represented by ethnicity was white children, followed by mixed and black/black British.

Children aged between 10 and 15 years were continually the highest group placed into care, while those aged 1 – 4 were the least represented in the figures.

If you are considering adopting a child but are still unsure or ready to take the next step, please call: 0800 731 0171 

Alternatively, fill in an online enquiry form or email


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

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