Publication of “Children Adopted from Care in Northern Ireland 2019/20”

Date published: 15 October 2020

The Department of Health has today published the “Children Adopted from Care in Northern Ireland 2019/20”.

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This bulletin details statistical information relating to children adopted from care during the year ending 31 March 2020. The tables within the bulletin present a range of information about these children and their adopters, including durations between different stages in the adoption process. The bulletin is based on the DoH statistical return AD1 2019/20, which was collected from each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts. 

Key Findings

  • One-hundred-and-eleven children were adopted from care in Northern Ireland during the year ending 31 March 2020;
  • The average age of children at the time of adoption was 4 years 2 months, one month younger compared to the previous year;
  • From the child’s last entry into care, the average length of time for a child to be adopted in 2019/20 was 3 years 1 month. This was the same as in the previous year;
  • For children adopted in 2019/20, the average duration from the HSC Trust proposal that adoption was in the best interest for the child (the Looked After Child Best Interest Proposal) to the Adoption Order was 2 years 3 months, the same as in 2018/19;
  • In 2019/20, children adopted by Concurrent Carers[1] were substantially younger at the time of adoption (3 years 4 months compared with the national average of 4 years and 2 months). They also had a shorter last duration in care (2 years 7 months compared with the national average of 3 years 1 month).

[1] The child is placed with carers who are approved as foster carers and adopters while the future of the child is still being decided.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This publication is available on the Department's website
  2. About the data:

    The source of the data contained in this release is the Departmental AD1 statistical return, collected from Health and Social Services Trusts and relating to the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.
  3. This statistical bulletin was produced by Community Information Branch, DoH.

    Further information is available from:

    Community Information Branch
    Department of Health
    Room 11, Annexe 2
    Castle Buildings
    Stormont Belfast BT4 3SQ
    Telephone: (028) 9052 2580
  4. E-mail:
  5. Internet
  6.  For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office:
  7. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.


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