MORE Bournemouth children were placed for adoption last year than at any time in the past 15 years, a report reveals.

At the same time, the number of children in care waiting to be adopted has quadrupled in the past four years – from just nine at the end of 2007 to 40 at the end of last month.

The figures are in a detailed report summarising the work of Bournemouth council’s adoption service over the past year. The service was recently labelled “outstanding” by Ofsted, which also said it could make no recommendations for improvement.

During the 2011/12 financial year, a total of 26 children in local authority care were placed for adoption – which means they are living with prospective adoptive families but still waiting for the adoption to be formalised by a court order.

The year also saw 18 children adopted from care – nine boys and nine girls. The boys took slightly longer to place, with three taking a year from the time the decision was made that adoption would be the best choice for them. In contrast, all but one of the girls was placed within six months and two were placed within two months.

Two sibling pairs were placed together and only one of the 18 children adopted was a relinquished baby, who had severe physical developmental problems. All of the others were subjects of care orders and placement orders.

Two sisters were placed with a single adoptive mum, a little girl was placed with a single carer, one child was placed with same sex female adopters and the rest with heterosexual couples.

Social workers say the number of children with adoption plans has been increasing year on year and is projected to rise even higher.

But the council has recruited a further 16 prospective adoptive families in 2011/12. All were two-parent prospective adopters, mainly heterosexual couples and one same-sex male couple.

To find out more about adopting in Bournemouth, call 01202 456743 or email DOMINIC and Sarah Chapman have nothing but praise for the way their first adoption was dealt with.

The couple are keen to put right stories portraying social services across the country as difficult and obstructive, urging people to think about what is best for the child in this sensitive process.

Dominic and Sarah were unable to have a family of their own, and in 2006 decided to start looking into inter-continental adoption. Dominic, 43, said: “We originally looked into adopting from China which is much, much more unusual than adopting within the UK.

“Our primary reason for that is that we were hoping to adopt a very young child and because of the particular situation in China there are quite a lot of young children there.”

However, after submitting all of their paperwork and going through the regular checks, China cut down on the number of children being adopted by other countries as a result of the focus on their country due to the 2008 Olympic Games.

So, at the beginning of 2009, the couple went back to Bournemouth Social Services and started to look into the possibility of adopting in the UK.

“It is quite an involved process”, Dominic added.

“There is a lot of negative press about adoption but a lot of people forget about the children and Social Services are only trying to do what is best for the child and to get the right match.”

Their first daughter was placed with them when she was just three-and-a-half months old.

“Obviously this is a much simpler adoption than people to adopt older children. But we have friends who have adopted older children and they have been very successful.”

When asked what they would say to others considering adoption, Dominic added: “I would say do not be put off by the process.

“Bournemouth (Council) in particular is extremely supportive and they will direct you in the right way.”

BOURNEMOUTH councillor Nick King and his civil partner adopted their first child more than two years ago.

“We found it a long process, but appropriately so,” he said.

“People always say it takes such a long time but actually if you think about it, if children are coming from a background where they have been neglected we want to prevent that happening again.

“It took us two years to go through the checks and procedures and then a further six months to get matched.

“It’s really the best thing we have ever done.

“We’ve been very lucky to do some really cool things over the years, but nothing compares to adopting.

“The way Bournemouth went about it was fantastic.

“They keep you up to date along the way and if there is a delay or something they need to check they will be honest with you.

He added: “We’ve been really lucky in that the school and community we live have been supportive of our situation.

“I think there is a recognition that we have provided a loving and safe home for our child that they did not have before.

“Undoubtedly the fact that we are a same sex couple will come up at some point but we will equip our child to deal with it as and when.”