Michael Gove has called on more people to adopt children. The call comes as it has emerged that more than 4,200 children are ready for adoption but have not yet been able to move in with a family - a figure that has grown by 650 in each of the last two years.
The Secretary of State, who was adopted himself, said he wants other children to have the same early settled experience of a secure and loving home. It still takes on average two and a half years from a child going into care to being adopted. For that reason the government has undertaken a series of reforms to make the adoption process swifter, and encourage more people to come forward.
The government is introducing a new shorter two-stage process for prospective adopters, has introduced changes aimed at ensuring swifter use of the adoption register by council and also scorecards that show the difference in delay for children in different councils.
Michael Gove 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. The government has made great strides in speeding up the process - now we need people to take the step and put themselves forward.
We are overhauling the adoption system to make it swifter, more effective and robust - there has never been a better time to come forward for adoption.
The outcome for children with a stable home will help them prosper as adults in years to come.
This call comes as the government lays draft legislation in parliament to make adoption processes swifter.
This draft legislation would introduce ‘Fostering for adoption’. This involves placing children with approved adopters who will foster the child while they wait for court approval for adoption - a process which can take many months. And the government intends to remove the requirement on social workers to consider a child’s race, and religious, cultural and linguistic background when matching a child with adopters.
These reforms would become law in two years’ time.
This comes as the government announces that First4Adoption, a consortium of Coram, Coram Children’s Legal Centre and Adoption UK, has won the contract for the National Gateway for Adoption. From next year this will for the first time provide a first point of contact for anyone who is interested in adoption, through a telephone helpline and a website.