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More babies in care to receive a stable home more swiftly

The Prime Minister has announced plans to reduce radically the time it takes for a baby to move in with their permanent family.

The Government will take action to put children’s interests first and legislate to make fostering by potential adopters standard practice in many cases, so that those in care are placed with carers who have the potential to become their adoptive parents, rather than in temporary homes.

The Government wants to see more babies and children becoming part of a permanent family sooner so they can reap the benefits of growing up in a stable and loving environment. The Prime Minister has already expressed concern that just 60 babies under one year of age were adopted in 2010/11.

New analysis shows that for the babies who come into care aged under one month, half were eventually adopted, but it took an average of more than 15 months for them to move in with their permanent family.

Ministers believe this is too long and want many more babies and children to move into their potentially permanent home earlier than they have done in recent years.

The Government will do this by introducing a new legal duty on local authorities to consider placing children with approved adopters who will foster the child first, and help provide a stable home much earlier in their life. This will remove groundless doubts about whether ‘Fostering for Adoption’ is legal and good practice.

Fostering for Adoption is not intended to pre-empt the court’s decision that a child should be adopted. But it means that whether or not the child is adopted, they should suffer less trauma from disruption and be found a stable home earlier than is the case at present. In doing so the Government hopes that more people will come forward to become potential adopters.

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