One in ten people still believe that gay people cannot adopt children, a survey says.

According to the research by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, 11 per cent believed gay or lesbian people were ineligible while 29 per cent thought single men could not adopt.

According to the organisation, this may mean that children in care are missing out on homes because people are not aware of how the law has changed.

In other findings, more than a third of people thought that smokers were barred from adopting and 29 per cent believed that obese people were not allowed to adopt.

Some respondents apparently thought that reading a tabloid newspaper, not being able to swim and being religious were barriers to adoption.

BAAF carried out the research to mark National Adoption Week, which is this week.

Chief executive David Holmes said: “It is worrying how many myths have come to dominate in adoption. It concerns us that people may disqualify themselves needlessly, which could mean a child misses out on a family.

“The key message is anyone over 21 can apply to adopt. However there is no right to adopt and everyone whose application is taken forward will be subject to a very thorough assessment. Every case is treated individually.

“The good news is that 94 per cent of people who make it to an adoption panel get approved. So we strongly urge anyone interested in adoption to make an enquiry. Don’t rule yourself out without at least finding out the facts.”