Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Concern over gay adoption views

Boy on the beach
Research found deeply ingrained attitudes to adoption

A charity has expressed dismay about a survey suggesting adoption by single people or gay couples is opposed by more than one out of three people.

The survey of 1,007 people, conducted by ICM for National Adoption Week, revealed strong views about who should and should not be able to adopt.

The poll also suggested just one in 10 people would think about adopting.

Action for Children hopes to encourage more people to consider adoption and to dispel myths about the process.

The survey suggested many people have traditional attitudes to adoption, preferring the idea of children being adopted by families headed by a married couple.

We have successfully placed children with both gay couples and single people. We know it works.
Susan Cotton, Action for Children

It found:

  • 13% of respondents were likely to consider adopting a child
  • 15% thought that unmarried couples should not adopt
  • 30% think single women should not be allowed to adopt
  • 43% think single men should not be allowed to adopt
  • 40% think male gay couples should not be allowed to adopt
  • 36% think female gay couples should not be allowed to adopt.

Susan Cotton, Adoption Manager at Action for Children - formerly National Children's Home - says: "These findings are shocking and disappointing. We accept adoption applications from people from all walks of life.

"We don't discriminate based on gender, sexuality or relationship status, but rather we judge on the ability to provide safe, secure and permanent homes to vulnerable children.

"Families in the 21st Century come in all shapes and sizes. We have successfully placed children with both gay couples and single people. We know it works."

The research also found a split in the attitudes of men and women towards adoption:

  • 50% of men thought that single men should not be allowed to adopt compared with 35% of women who held this view
  • 38% of men thought that single women shouldn't be allowed to adopt compared with 23% of women.

Ms Cotton said the most important thing to consider when looking at placing a child was to look at the child's individual needs to find a way of best meeting them.

She said: "It is the child that matters, not the relationship status of potential parents. Our worry is that people won't come forward and adopt because of the opinions of others."

The survey comes after the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) said negative images of boys are making people less willing to adopt them.

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