The UK's top family judge has intervened in the case of a mentally-ill mother whose baby was delivered by caesarean section by court order.
The Prime Minister has tried to bring some festive cheer to couples and children caught up in the adoption system in England.
David Cameron is to announce plans to radically speed up the amount of time it takes to place children with potential adopters.
A guide for would-be adopters listing benefits and support has been published by the Government amid concerns that hundreds of thousands are turned off by the process.
The "adoption passport" is part of an ongoing bid to speed up the process due to fears that children are waiting too long to find a new home.
Latest figures show that children in England are left in care for nearly 21 months on average before being adopted.
In some cases, youngsters can wait three years before moving in with an adoptive family.
According to Barnardos children's charity, 8,750 new foster families will be needed across the UK in 2012 to 2013.
Currently 7,000 children are in need of adoption, with a white child three times more likely to be adopted than a black child, they said.
- 7,100 in England
- 1,000 in Scotland
- 550 in Wales
- 100 in Northern Ireland
According to children's charity Barnardos, children in need of adoption are being left to grow up without a family because of their ethnicity, age, disability or brothers and sisters.
- A white child is three times more likely to be adopted as a black child
- The proportion of children being adopted drops from one in three when a child is age four or younger to one in 15 when that child turns five
- Approximately 40 per cent of children waiting for a new permanent family have some form of special need
- Nearly fifty per cent of the children on the adoption register are in sibling groups
- Two out of three fostering services have to split brothers and sisters up because there are not enough foster carers willing to take siblings
Children's charity Barnardos are highlighting the fact that 7,000 children are currently waiting to be adopted.
It is the highest number of children since 2007.
This morning, Barnardos will bring to light the plight of these young people by projecting four images captioned, 'Too old, Too many, Too difficult and Too black' on to the walls of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London, as its Fostering and Adoption Week begins.
Read more: Government publishes adoption map
Francesca Polini ended up adopting abroad after facing, what she describes, as too many hurdles in the UK. Speaking to Daybreak, she says a new helpline which offers advice from existing adopters on the process is "a gimmick".
She says there is little point promoting adoption without offering a robust framework that parents and children need.
Thousands of children in Britain are left waiting to find new families as couples desperate to adopt struggle to wade through red tape.
This morning a new helpline is being launched by the Government to try and speed up the process, Families Minister Edward Timpson told ITV Daybreak that the process can take as long as two and half years.
He said that the Government aims to reform the whole of the adoption process and get the 4,000 children currently in care into a loving home.
- The new First4Adoption hotline, which opens for the first time today, can be accessed on 0300 2220022 between 10am and 6pm Monday to Friday.
- The map will be available on the Department for Education website.
– Edward Timpson, Children and families minister
We know many potential adopters out there can provide children with loving, stable homes but simply don't know where to start.
These new tools will give many more people support in taking the first steps to adopting a child and giving them the chance to succeed in life.
The Government is publishing a map showing parts of England where children are most in need of parents.
The adoption map will be issued as part of a drive to cut adoption waits.
It comes after concerns by educational officials that prospective parents are often not being pointed to high-need areas if their own has few youngsters on its list.
Today a Government-funded hotline is will also be launched, offering advice from existing adopters on negotiating the process.