UK & World News
Adoption: New Online Maps To Ease Process
Would-be adopters are being urged by a minister to use online maps to help match them to some of the 6,000 children in need of a home.
The interactive maps include local information such as the ratio of children in need of waiting adopters and the approval rate.
Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said there had been "promising progress" to improve adoption rates, but significantly more needed to be done.
"This Christmas I want anyone considering adoption to look carefully at the information in our interactive maps and consider whether they can offer a child a stable and loving home," said Mr Timpson, who has two adopted brothers.
"There remains significant work to do next year.
"Our new adoption leadership board will play an important role ensuring local authorities and adoption agencies stay on track and recruit more adopters.
"A further £50m for councils in 2014 will help them put the building blocks in place to implement our reforms."
Department for Education figures show a 34% increase in willing adopters and successful adoptions up by 15% following the implementation of reforms.
Adoption UK chief executive Hugh Thornbery said: "We've seen a rise in adoptions this year, but we still need more adopters to provide loving homes for some of society's most vulnerable children.
"We know that key to attracting more adopters is the assurance of accessible, timely and appropriate support."
David Simmonds, chair of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, said an increased focus on improving adoption services was a "positive move, but this isn't new money".
He said it represented a net reduction in funding for local authorities and could impact on services for vulnerable children.
"Councils have been working hard to recruit more adoptive mums and dads and are doing everything in their power to ensure that vulnerable children get the best start in life," he said.
"The fact remains that we still need thousands more potential adopters to come forward to offer loving homes.
"Councils also rightly acknowledge that there is variation in performance across the country and the LGA is working with the Government to help support improvement.
"However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and decisions must be made on what is in the best interests of each individual child."
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