Prime minister David Cameron has today announced bold new Government plans to speed up the adoption system with a foster-first policy for couples who are approved to adopt but who can still face long waits for paperwork to be completed.
The announcement is designed to reduce radically the times it takes for a baby to move in with their permanent family.
Local authorities will be obliged to consider placing children with carers who have the potential to become their adoptive parents, rather than in temporary homes, meaning more babies will be moved into permanent homes more quickly.
Building on a range of measures already introduced to improve the adoption system, it will form a key element of the Government’s vision to ensure that more babies and children can benefit from a stable and loving family environment.
The Prime Minister said:
"Children's needs must be at the very heart of the adoption process - it's shocking that we have a system where 50% of one month old babies who come to the care system go on to be adopted but wait 15 months to be placed in a permanent, loving home. That's why today I'm changing the law and calling for urgent action - both from local authorities and from potential adopters - to get the system moving.
"These new plans will see babies placed with approved adopters who will foster first, and help provide a stable home at a much earlier stage in a child's life. This way, we're trying our very best to avoid the disruption that can be so damaging to a child’s development and so detrimental to their future wellbeing.
"I'm determined that we act now to give these children the very best start in life. These babies deserve what every child deserves: a permanent, secure and happy home environment to grow up in."