However, the latest figures show that more than 650 children are still waiting to be matched with new parents, with many having spent months in care despite adopters being readily available.
The new Education and Adoption Bill, published today, will encourage South East councils to work together to create Regional Adoption Agencies with a common uniting purpose – to successfully match vulnerable children waiting for their forever family, no matter where they live, and bring to an end the delays that have unacceptable impact on a child’s life chances.
Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson, who grew up with two adopted brothers, said:
“Every single day a child in the West Midlands spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability. This just isn’t good enough.
“Where adoption is proven to be in the best interest of the child, we have a moral mission to make sure they’re matched quickly with the parents right for them – regardless of where they live.
“By coming together and joining forces, councils and adoption agencies across the West Midlands will be able to reach across artificial boundaries and access an ever growing pool of approved adopters, creating families quickly and successfully.”
Thanks to reforms under the last government, there are now more families than ever ready to adopt. The government now wants to make sure that fewer children face unnecessary delays before being placed in a loving and stable home
There are currently no barriers to councils working together to streamline and improve the adoption system, but evidence shows that at present – when placing children for adoption – councils tend to concentrate their efforts on finding local parents first, rather than looking further afield for what might be a better match. This can lead to children waiting much longer than necessary when parents are readily available.
Actively encouraging councils to join forces and work together as Regional Adoption Agencies will act as a triple win – giving councils a greater pool of approved adopters with which to match vulnerable children successfully first time; making vital support services more widely available to adoptive families as and when they need them; and better targeting the recruitment of adopters.
The government will provide financial and practical support for councils and adoption agencies to enable them to bring services together regionally, and implement the greatest step change in the way children are matched for adoption in a generation.