Adoptive parents believe boys are 'too much trouble', a snapshot of adoption agencies across the UK has revealed.
Experts fear that boys are being overlooked because people believe little girls will be easier to look after.
According to the British Association of Adoption and Fostering BAAF poll, most people believe that frequent coverage in the media of boys as knife-wielding, cannabis-smoking gang members may fuel the reluctance to adopt them.
Now, experts hope to shed light on the plight of little boys during National Adoption Week and to challenge their trouble-maker image.
"Our survey suggests that one reason people may think twice about adopting a boy is because of the negative portrayal of boys in the media. Perhaps people have a more idealised image of a girl," the Independent quoted David Holmes, chief executive of BAAF, as saying.
"We need to confront these stereotypes and try to dispel some of the negative myths," he added.