Kids’ 623 day wait for new families

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CHILDREN awaiting adoption in Kirklees wait an average of 623 days to join their new families.

That’s the shocking statistic revealed by the Department for Education as ministers urge councils to speed up their adoption process.

The government assessed local authorities against two national thresholds – a limit of 21 months from entering care to adoption, and a limit of seven months for matching a child to a family once a court order for adoption has been made – and found 72 surpassed one or both of these limits.

Kirklees average figures for 2009-11 fall within the first threshold, with 58 per cent of children adopted in less than 21 months, but on average the council took almost nine months to match a child to a family between 2009-2011.

The government now plans to lower the thresholds to 14 months and four months respectively within the next four years.

Last year only 3,050 children in care, including just 60 babies, found new homes through adoption – the lowest number since 2001.

Coun Cath Harris (Lab, Ashbrow), cabinet member for children and families, said more adoption staff have been recruited to help speed up the process.

She said: “We had an action plan in place before the adoption scorecards were published and we are addressing the issues involved.

“Nationally, a growing number of children are coming into care, but a recent Ofsted inspection found adoption services in Kirklees to be good.”

Anyone interested in adopting, regardless of background or relationship status, can call 01924 483707 or email adoption@kirklees.gov.uk.