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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 07:32 GMT
TV star heads adoption drive
David Dickinson
David Dickinson was adopted as a baby

TV antiques expert David Dickinson is helping promote a drive to persuade more people in north Wales and the north of England to consider adoption.

The star of BBC's Bargain Hunt - who was himself adopted as a child - is backing an appeal by the agency Adoption Matters.

The organisation revealed on Wednesday that Dickinson - whose cabaret singer wife Lorne Lesley comes from Tiger Bay in Cardiff - has agreed to help spread the message during National Adoption Week, which starts next week.

Representatives of the agency will be on hand at a mobile unit at Broughton Retail Park in Flintshire, on Friday and Saturday, and other venues are lined up for later in the week.

Adoption Matters is a specialist voluntary agency with offices in Chester and Hale, and exists solely to provide adoption support.

Since 1955, the agency has found new families for more than 2,500 children.

Adoption facts
There were 5,131 adoptions in Wales and England last year, up 328 on 2001
Average time between care entry and adoption is 2 years 10 months
Average age at adoption is 4 years, 4 months
Adoptions in Wales and England fell from 21,500 in 1971 to just under 6,000 in 2001
Unmarried and gay people can adopt, but only married couples can adopt as a couple

The agency wants more people from Cheshire, Manchester, and north east Wales, to consider adopting some of the 3,000 children currently in care in the UK.

Adoption is an issue close to the heart of the Cheshire presenter. He was told at the age of 12 that he had been adopted.

"I was lucky enough to be adopted into a very caring family while I was still a baby, but it's a very different experience for many other children," he said.

"There are very few babies these days who need adoptive families. Many of the children who are currently in care across the UK are older children aged from four, and there are brothers and sisters who need to stay together.

"There is also a large number of children with learning or physical disabilities. It's this group that has been waiting the longest, often years, for the opportunity of a fresh start with a new family."

parent and baby generic
More homes are needed for older children rather than babies
Unmarried and gay people can adopt but only married couples can adopt as a couple.

Earlier this year it was revealed that just 30 children had been successfully adopted through the government's new adoption register, a report reveals.

Ministers set up the register last year to match prospective parents with children who have been put up for adoption.

The move was designed to boost the number of children who are adopted in England and Wales each year.

But figures published in the register's annual report showed that while 600 matches were identified over the past year, just 30 children were adopted as a result.

The government pledged in 2000 to increase the number of children who are adopted by 40% within five years.

Computers to speed up adoption
07 Aug 01  |  Health
Internet adoption laws tightened
30 Apr 01  |  UK News


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