The Prime Minister today announced plans to reduce the time it takes for a baby to move in with their permanent family.
The Government will legislate to make fostering by potential adopters standard practice in many cases, so that children 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.
Announcing the change in law, the Prime Minister said: "These new plans will see babies placed with approved adopters who will foster first, and help provide a stable home at a much earlier stage in a child's life. This way, we're trying our very best to avoid the disruption that can be so damaging to a child's development and so detrimental to their future wellbeing.
"I'm determined that we act now to give these children the very best start in life. These babies deserve what every child deserves: a permanent, secure and happy home environment to grow up in."
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.
The announcement has been welcomed by adoption charities and campaigners. Dr Carol Homden, Chief Executive of Coram, said: "A consistent, loving and permanent relationship is vital for children and it is urgent for those particularly vulnerable infants who may later need adoption.
"Concurrent planning provides that precious consistency of care and puts the welfare of the child first. There have not been any breakdowns in adoption for children placed thorough this scheme.
"We look forward to working with local authorities and the judiciary to extend its use and wider means of achieving earliest possible placement."