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Johannesburg - There has been a steep decline in the number of adoptions in South Africa in the past nine years, a research report revealed on Tuesday.
It found that only 1699 adoptions took place in 2013, from 2 840 in 2004.
The research was released by the National Adoption Coalition SA (NACSA) ahead of Child Protection Week.
According to the research, there were only 297 unmatched parents for 428 unmatched children available for adoption.
This was based on a review of the Registry of Adoptable Children & Parents (RACAP) from November 2013.
Of the 297 unmatched parents registered, 14 were black, 190 were white and 43 were Indian, while the remainder were unspecified.
Most parents sought a child of their own race and girls were preferred to boys, where gender was specified, the report said.
Of the 428 children available, 398 were black, three were white, nine were described as being 'mixed race', the remainder were unspecified.
The report stated that only 50 of the applicants would consider a child with special needs, which may include HIV or physical or mental disabilities.
The statistics compiled in the research report showed that 60 percent of the children had been abandoned and less than 40 percent were formally consented for adoption by the parents or family.
A total of 38 were HIV positive, 22 were born premature and 53 had other special needs, the report said.
Most of the research was conducted in Alexandra, Soweto and Tembisa.
More than 3500 babies were abandoned in South Africa in 2010, according to Child Welfare SA.
“There are no current statistics detailing the number of children who are abandoned in South Africa on an annual basis but most child protection organisations believe that the numbers have increased significantly over the past decade,” the report said.
Of the 18.5 million children in South Africa today, 4.5 million of them lived with neither of their parents, the report said.
“Orphans have increased by 30 percent over the decade to approximately 5.2 million children.”
In 2013, over 11 million children were registered for child support grants and over half a million children for foster care grants.
Foster care grants had increased by over 70 percent over the same period, the report said.