London boroughs' collaborative Black Adoption Project takes a unique approach to addressing the long-standing disparities experienced by Black children and families in the adoption system.

The Power of Power-Sharing

Working together as 4 Adopt London Regional Adoption Agencies, on behalf of 24 London boroughs, and in partnership with independent consultant Laurelle Brown, the Black Adoption Project has embedded power-sharing with those who have lived experience of Black Adoption, community stakeholders, Adopt London professionals, elected Councillors, academics, and senior leaders – all who care passionately about finding solutions that work.

The Research Findings

Research undertaken in the first phase of the Black Adoption Project highlighted the extent to which Black and mixed Black ethnicity children are disadvantaged within the adoption system.

  • Black children are both more likely to wait longer in foster care before an adoptive family is identified, and also more likely to have their adoption plan reversed because a suitable adoptive family could not be identified, resulting in them remaining long-term in foster care when this was not the original plan for them.
  • Multiple factors that make it harder for Black single people and couples to come forward for adoption, which means that there are not enough Black adoptive parents approved each year for the children who have adoption plans endorsed by the courts in London.


Francine was adopted as a child and a few years later her adoptive parents also adopted her birth sister. The sisters were raised together in London. Francine is now co-chair of the Black Adoption Project Steering Committee. Francine tells us a little about her experiences and why she got involved with the Project.

“Growing up I always knew I had an older brother from my birth mother who had remained in the care system and his outcomes had not been positive, and he suffered as a result. Being in care is tough for anyone at any time, but especially back then, and I realised the differences in mine and my brother’s lives. The effect and stability adoption has and being placed with a sibling – if possible – can influence and impact life going forward.

Adoption is important to me, now and in the past. It gave me the incredibly close family life I have now. I still live in the same flat my dad helped me choose – a few streets away from the home I grew up in. My sister is close by too. Every Sunday, we all – partners and kids – head over to Mum’s for dinner. Every Sunday we catch up and get to be together. I know many of my friends who were raised with their birth families don’t have such close bonds with their family, so I always remind my mum how she lucked out when she adopted my sister and I!

I know adoption isn’t the answer for every child, but being part of the Black Adoption Project is incredibly important to me. I followed up on a tweet from Laurelle Brown looking for adults who were adopted and I’ve been on board ever since. I want to be part of and influence tangible change for children already adopted and the next generation. Changing perceptions, better PR, and calling out to families to come forward for Black children can only be a good thing. Families are more complex nowadays, and we need the robust support to make adoption just another way of life.”


Chloe is the Business and Performance Manager at Adopt London West, ensuring that social work services are delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible. Chloe has been a staff representative on the Steering Committee since it was founded and tells us here about why she wanted to be involved.

“The more I heard about the Project, the more enthusiastic I became. It’s such a good initiative and I am now so fully on board to the extent that I speak about it all the time to friends and family. I often find myself inserting aspects of the Project into various conversations and they can see how passionate I am when I speak about it. It means that they might mention it to someone else, so it’s continuously building awareness all the time.

Being involved means helping make life changes for Black children. By implementing changes, it will mean better outcomes for children and have a direct impact on giving them a better chance in life. The Project aims to ‘get it right’ so Black adopted children have a level playing field in terms of equality…even a little bit will help.

Last year I was part of the Project’s ‘theory of change’ workshops and it felt so good to think about the basis of the project and it’s aims together with the other Steering Committee members and stakeholders. We worked through each section and were all buzzing with knowledge and shared experiences so there were many post-it notes of great ideas! It felt empowering to be part of it and to hear the experiences of everyone attending. I thought ‘wow’ – with the care and knowledge around this table – we’ve lit a fire and we are going to make a difference.”

The Next Phase

As the Black Adoption Project moves into its next phase it is embarking on an exciting series of practice-based pilots across Adopt London, aimed at testing out ways to improve the system and change the statistics for Black children. The Project run regular free webinars and have a mailing list so that you can follow their progress and learn from their findings.

Find Out More

The Black Adoption Project have a full-time role advertised until 19th May for a Programme Lead. You can find out more and apply for the role here.

The Black Adoption Project mailing list will keep you updated with the progress of their work, let you know about upcoming webinars, and advertise opportunities to be involved. You can sign up to the mailing list here.

You can watch back previous webinars, access the phase 1 research report and hear about the Project theory of change work on their webpage here.

London's Partner Boroughs

The Black Adoption Project is delivered in partnership with the 24 Adopt London boroughs - Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Havering, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, and Wandsworth.