Children available for adoption: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01976
Date received: 25 August 2017
Date responded: 7 September 2017

Information requested

How many children are available in Scotland for adoption from Jan 1st 2017 and how many are available at this present moment in time, if possible can we have the numbers available for each council area separately?


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. However, you may wish to contact individual Local Authority Children's Services who may be able to help you. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.

The number of children who are available in Scotland for adoption from Jan 1st 2017 and numbers available at this present moment disaggregated by Local Authority.

We do not collate or hold information on the number of children being put forward for adoption or are available for adoption by Local Authorities. However, with the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, all Local Authorities are required to use Scotland's Adoption Register.

Scotland's Adoption Register is funded by the Scottish Government to support and improve the matching of looked after children with adopter families at a national level and currently there are 117 prospective adopter families registered and 149 children registered. The latest annual report is available on the Scotland's Adoption Register website: Scotlands Adoption Register

The Care Inspectorate collects annual returns from Local Authorities and Registered Adoption Agencies on the numbers of children being approved for adoption, being successfully placed and the recruitment of potential adopters but the information is not currently published. The Care Inspectorate can be contacted via their website: Care Inspectorate

Our annual national Children's Social Work Statistics publication provides information on how many looked after children are with prospective adopters as at 31 July 2016. This was 251 looked after children. It also details how many children have ceased being looked after due to adoption which was 341. Children's Social Work Statistics

The additional tables available with this publication disaggregate the numbers by Local Authority: Numbers by local authority

You may also be interested in our national Civil Justice Statistics in Scotland which provide the number of applications initiated for permanence orders with authority to adopt. The trend has been rising steadily, and reached 365 in 2015-16. The disposals of adoption petitions and permanence orders with authority to adopt show a similar pattern with nearly all these applications being granted (98% and 95% respectively). National Civil Justice Statistics

Improving the waiting time between approval and placement

In our Getting it Right for Looked After Children Strategy Strategy document we state our ambition of where a child cannot remain with their family they should achieve a permanent home as quickly as possible with the minimum number of placements, taking account of their individual needs and views. The national roll out of the Permanence and Care Excellence (PACE) programme ensures that secure and permanent homes are found more quickly for children who need them. Further information about the work and information gathered as part of this programme can be found here: PACE Strategy

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government is not responsible for the delivery of the service. Responsibility is with Local Authorities and they hold the information you are looking for.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top