Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove has called for more adopters as the government introduces draft legislation designed to speed up the adoption process.
New figures reveal there are more than 4200 children available for adoption in the UK, a figure which has risen by 650 in each of the last two years.
The Conservative MP, who was himself adopted by a Labour-supporting family as an infant, said:
“There are thousands of children around the country waiting for adoption. I was adopted when I was four months old and it changed my life. These children should have the same opportunities as I did and reap all the benefits of being in a loving supportive home. This can only happen if more adopters come forward and are approved.”
It takes an average of two and a half years for children in care to be adopted.
The Government announced a shorter two-stage process for potential adopters in September, along with changes designed to encourage councils to make faster use of the adoption register.
The draft legislation now before parliament would also introduce ‘fostering for adoption’, a scheme in which children are placed with already approved adopters who will foster the child while awaiting approval for full adoption. Other requirements, such as the current need to consider a child’s race, will also be removed from the process. There will also be an assessment of the varying levels of delay in different councils.
The outcome be a stable home which would help children “prosper as adults in years to come,” said Mr Gove.