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Plan to force mergers and speed up adoption rates

The proposed Schools and Adoption Bill will contain new powers to require local authorities to merge to speed up adoption rates if they do not do so themselves within two years.

Plan to force mergers and speed up adoption rates. Credit: PA

The Government said it would encourage town halls to set up their own mergers or outsource services to a single regional agency, while they will also be offered financial support to establish regional services.

Last year, according to the DfE more than 5,000 children were found the permanent home, representing a record increase of 26% over 12 months.

Plans to 'speed up' adoption will be in Queen's Speech

Plans to force councils to merge services in order to speed up adoption rates are to be announced in next week's Queen's Speech.

Measures to speed up the adoption process will be outlined in the Queen's Speech. Credit: Lukas Coch / AAP/PA Images

Adoption is "happening at too small and localised a scale", the Department for Education (DfE) said, and mergers would increase the pool of potential adopters, reducing waiting times.

Every single day a child spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability. This just isn't good enough.

By coming together and joining forces, councils can make sure more children are matched with families far quicker - regardless of where they live.

– Children and families minister, Edward Timpson

Official figures suggest more than 3,000 children are waiting to be matched with new parents, with more than half having spent 18 months in care.

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Charity: 6,000 children are waiting to be adopted

As a survey revealed that a quarter of gay men see their sexuality as a barrier to becoming parents, Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said:

In the UK there are 6,000 children waiting to be adopted and we know that gay men can make loving fathers.

If more people came forward we would be able to help give loving homes to thousands of children.

We need to make sure that everyone knows that they can adopt - so by next year many more will celebrate their first Father's Day.

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25% of gay men see sexuality as a 'barrier to adoption'

A children's charity is appealing to gay men who are interested in adoption as it released the results of a survey that showed a quarter mistakenly see their sexuality as a barrier to becoming parents.

A quarter of gay men see their sexuality as a barrier to becoming parents, Action for Children reveals today. Credit: PA

Action for Children said anyone who is interested in adopting should not let common myths put them off, as thousands of children are still seeking loving permanent homes.

The charity's poll of 235 gay men who have adopted or are going through the process, showed that 17% were told that they shouldn't become a parent - mostly by their own family.

Would-be adoptive dad explains 'simple' process

A man hoping to adopt for the first time along with his wife has explained the process to Daybreak.

Sam began the process of adoption at the beginning of this year and has already been through screening, preparation, and home visits.

He explained: "It has been made so much more simple. It has taken us from January 2 until today - and we've been to panel already."

He continued: "The social workers were excellent with us...really if you are thinking of doing it, please do it."

Govt pledges 'extra £50m' to improve adoption process

The Government has pledged an extra £50 million to help improve adoption services, the children's minister has announced.

Our new adoption leadership board will play an important role ensuring local authorities and adoption agencies stay on track and recruit more adopters - and a further £50 million for councils in 2014 will help them put the building blocks in place to implement our reforms.

– Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson

Govt: Use online adoption maps to speed up process

Parents looking for a child to adopt should use the online map. Credit: PA

The Government is urging more would-be adoptive parents to use their interactive online adoption maps to find suitable children to raise.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said "promising progress" was being made towards improving adoption rates but significantly more remained to be done.

Information like the number of children waiting for adoption, approval rates and the time taken to complete the process are on the map.

Department for Education figures show a 34% increase in adopters and adoptions up by a record 15% following the implementation of reforms.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the issue is a personal priority.

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