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Adoption statistics

According to the most recent statistics on adoptions, as released by the National Department of Social Development, there were 14 803 legal adoptions registered in South Africa for the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2010. That amounts to more or less 2 400 adoptions per year. This number includes related adoptions.

This amounts to a relatively small percentage of children placed when compared to alternative forms of legal care, such as foster care and residential care (refer to the table below). When considering the high and ever growing number of children orphaned and abandoned, it is clear that despite the high estimated number of adoptable children the annual number of adoptions has stayed low and static over the past six years.

When comparing national adoptions with intercountry adoption statistics, the average number of children placed for intercountry adoptions per year is 238 – a very small figure. Currently there are no statistics available that can give an accurate breakdown of the number of same-race and inter-race adoptions in South Africa.

Children by care placement arrangement in South Africa, 2007 - 2010

Estimated number of children in foster care and receiving foster care grants in January 2010 Estimated number of  orphaned children  in 2007 Estimated number of  children living in child-headed households in 2009 Estimated number of children in state-owned children’s homes as at end-October 2009
510 713 668 000 150 000 14 599