National Care Service - children's social services: overview

Overview of social services provided to children and families in Scotland. It forms one of a collection of contextual papers about social care and related areas in Scotland, linking to the National Care Service consultation.

This document is part of a collection

Adoption services

An adoption service makes arrangements in connection with the adoption of children. This does not include when the proposed adopter is a relative of the child.

There were 38 adoption services operating in Scotland in 2020, 32 local authority adoption services and six independent adoption services. In 2020, 232 new adoptive households were approved, down from 259 in 2019 and continuing a downward trend. The year-on-year decrease is only in the local authority sector, with independent services showing a flatter trend. There were 186 approved households at 31 December 2020 waiting for a child to be placed. At the same time there were 148 children and young people approved for adoption and waiting to be matched to an adoptive household. Of these, 47% were part of a family group (an increase from 31% the previous year) and 30% had been waiting for over one year. In 2020 there were 225 children approved for adoption, 207 children placed with their new adoptive families and 206 children legally adopted.


For queries relating to a child at risk of harm please contact the appropriate local authority directly.

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