At the start of National Adoption Week, the Prime Minister launched a new major national adoption and fostering campaign, Give a Child a Home, which calls on more people to come forward as adopters and foster parents.
The Prime Minister will meet adoptive parents before hosting a round table meeting with adoptive parents, foster carers and representatives of local authority and voluntary adoption and fostering services.
The Prime Minister has promised tough action to deal with local authorities who are failing in their basic responsibilities to deal with adoption cases swiftly and efficiently, or who are weak at finding suitable and stable foster placements for children. He has said it is unacceptable that some local authorities have been allowed to let down the children in their care for so long and where they fail, a high performing local authority could take over a poor performing one, or we could require services to be contracted out to better providers.
The Government will also publish, for the first time, transparent data on the performance of local authorities on key issues such as adoption rates and the educational attainment of the children in their care to allow people to be able to challenge councils that are letting down the children in their care through inefficiency or poor performance, and to help the worst councils learn from the best.
The Prime Minister said:
"It is shocking that of the 3,600 children under the age of one in care, only sixty were adopted last year - this is clearly not good enough. So we will publish data on how every local authority is performing to ensure they are working quickly enough to provide the safe and secure family environment every child deserves."
The Prime Minister will launch a national debate on reforming the care system reaching out to young people, professionals in the care system, and people who have adopted or fostered children to ask how to improve the system.
The Prime Minister will also launch a new campaign site where people can find information about how to adopt or become foster carers and receive advice on how to register to foster or adopt.
The Prime Minister said:
"We need more people to think about fostering and adoption so this National Adoption Week I would encourage anyone who is considering adoption to find out more about whether they could provide a home for a child. People who foster and adopt make a fantastic difference to a child's life and there are children waiting for families right now."
The Prime Minister will call also call for further progress in other areas including radical reform of the family justice system:
We will be challenging local authorities who have long delays in placing children with adoptive parents once the placement order has been made.
The average child now waits 2 years and 7 months to be adopted. The Government is committed to reducing that time and welcomed David Norgrove's interim recommendation that clear timetables should be set for the duration of each child's case, based on the needs of each child, and that court cases - one element of the process that causes some long delays - should be restricted to 6 months except in exceptional circumstances, compared with an average of 13 months now. Further details will be announced in David Norgrove's final report, to be published later this week.
We will work with the courts and local authorities so that more babies are placed with dually approved foster carers/prospective adopters immediately, rather than languishing in temporary placements before the search for a new family is even begun.