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Adoption process to be speeded up

David Cameron has announced more reforms to the adoption process to ensure children spend less time in care and the whole process is “fairer and faster”.

The changes involve allowing children to be fostered with potential adoptive parents before the formal adoption process is completed, and reducing the priority that local authorities give to ethnic background when placing children with families, to ensure they don’t spend years in care while social workers seek a racial match.

Although race is still a factor, especially with older children, mixed-race adoptions are still far preferable to children remaining in care in the long term, the Government says.

If social workers fail to place children within three months in the local area, they will be legally obliged to use the national adoption register.

Cameron said: “This Government is going to tear down the barriers that stop good, caring potential adoptive parents from giving a home to children who so desperately need one.

“We will tackle the absurd barriers to mixed-race adoption which trap many non-white children in care. We will make sure that local authorities who let children down make faster use of the national adoption register.

“And we will remove obstacles to make sure potential adoptive parents can be foster carers too, so that it's no longer too hard for children to be placed with them while final decisions are made.

“Together, these are vital steps towards a system that is fairer, faster, and puts children and parents first.”

Government adviser on adoption, Martin Narey, former head of Barnardo’s, welcomed the urgency being shown by the Government.

The NSPCC broadly welcomed the changes, but said the priority needed to be placing children in a safe, secure and loving home – not just speed. 

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