Government announces £16m boost to adopting

PA

The Government has announced a £16 million injection of funds into adoption agencies to help them address the shortfall of prospective adoptive parents.

The fresh funds will be made available from later this year until 2016. The Government wants new and existing voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs) to develop "new and creative ways" to recruit more adopters and give children loving, stable homes "more quickly".

The existing 23 VAAs in England have recruited and approved over 600 parents in the last 12 months but the Government says the new cash could see as many as 2,000 additional prospective adopters recruited each year by March 2016.

There will also be new business support for adoption agencies, providing advice, coaching, and guidance to expand their organisations.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson, who has two adopted brothers, said: "There are still over 4,000 children waiting to be adopted nationally, and we cannot stand by whilst children's futures hang in the balance. This is why we are taking a closer look at how we are recruiting new parents by giving voluntary adoption agencies a bigger role.

"We know more than 650,000 people would consider adopting right now, yet more than 700 additional adopters are needed each year to keep up with the growing number of children waiting to be adopted.

"What is important is that children who are in need of a permanent, loving home are found one as soon as possible - not who delivers the service."

The fresh funds are in addition to the £150 million given to local authorities to attract more adopters.

The Government is also implementing a simplified process for people who want to adopt or foster a child, and plans to give adoptive parents the same pay and leave rights as birth parents from 2015.

The Evangelical Alliance is currently running a campaign to encourage more churches to support adoption and fostering. The Home for Good campaign is being spearheaded by the EA's Krish Kandiah, who has an adopted child and regularly takes in foster children. The campaign makes the point that if one family in every church adopted a child, the need for adoptive parents in the UK would be met.

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