PM's festive cheer to those caught up in the adoption system

David Cameron with Karen McKellar and her adoptive daughter during a meeting in October Photo: Press Association

The Prime Minister has tried to bring some festive cheer to couples and children caught up in the adoption system in England.

The Government has already trying to reform what has become a slow and difficult process.

Today, Downing Street announced plans for parents who have been approved for adoption to be given a role in selecting a child.

At the moment couples have to wait for social services to find a match - which can take years.

Now the plan is to open up the adoption register to potential parents so they can have a say.

But that would involve changing the law. I am told the Children and Families Bill will begin its passage through Parliament next year.

David Cameron meeting parents who have or are about to adopt in west London earlier this year Credit: Press Association

Mr Cameron also wants to introduce so-called adoption parties, or activity days, where parents can meet children.

There's also the offer of more paid leave for those adopting and the legal right to take time off work to meet the children.

Although the number of children approved for adoption has risen in the past two years, there are still more than 4,000 in care in England who are waiting to be adopted.

This is clearly an urgent problem - and these proposals have the support of many charities.

But even the Government admits that even if they're approved, these proposals won't be in place for at least a couple of years.