UNITED KINGDOM, July 6, 2011 ( – Adoption is a “golden option” that should be offered to pregnant teenage girls and women unable to raise their child, says the UK’s new Government Ministerial Advisor on adoption.


After his appointment this week, Minister Martin Narey wasted no time in releasing a report on the British adoption system, along with nineteen suggestions for improvement.

“Adoption should be a third option to abortion or keeping the child. It is an attitude that must be allowed to grow,” said Narey, the former director-general of the Prison Service, who ran the UK’s largest children’s charity, Barnardo’s, for some time.

Rising concern over the plummeting adoption numbers has forced the government to appoint Narey to improve the system. Since the 1970s the number of children adopted from state care has dropped from more than 20,000 a year to around 3,000. Last year, a mere 70 children under one-year-old were adopted, compared to about 4,000 in 1976.

A “hopelessly slow” system, rules governing ethnicity and age, and an attitude against adoption appear to be the biggest hurdles the minister will face in reforming the system.

“I am afraid some people just don’t like adoption,” said Narey. “They think it is social engineering, allowing middle-class people to bring up working-class children. Where there are successes, professionals are apologetic about it, like it is some sort of tragedy.”

“In the U.S. mothers who give their children up for adoption believe they are giving them a great start. Here it is viewed as a success if we talk them out of it,” added the minister.

Although Tony Blair attempted to change the system in 2002, the only lasting result was to allow homosexual couples to adopt, a change that has now ousted all British Catholic adoption agencies from the system.

Along with the promotion of adoption, Narey recommended that social workers cease fixating on the difficulties of bringing up a child and telling young teens they would be good mothers.

“For six months we are all over her telling her how well she is doing – and then she is on her own. What we are doing is cowardly,” he said in the report, commissioned by The Times. Narey said that the benefits of adoption should be promoted to these young mothers. 

The minister said that measures must be taken to help the most destitute children who remain stuck in the system for many years.  Currently, the approximately 60,000 children in state care complete school with no qualifications for a job and are often left to a life of crime.

“Here we have a solution to healing the lives of some of the most disadvantaged children in the UK,” said Narey. “In an any other area of social policy, with the evidence so persuasive, it would be vigorously pursued. Instead it is dealt with at best marginally.”