Writing in The Times today, Children's Minister Tim Loughton has announced that Martin Narey will be appointed as the new Ministerial Adviser on Adoption.
The former head of the children's charity Barnardo's will be responsible for advising the government on how to reduce delays in the adoption system, speed up the time it takes to place children with families and make the system fit for purpose. He will also visit individual authorities that need help to increase adoptions and improve the quality and sustainability of placements. He will report on progress on a quarterly basis for discussion at the Ministerial Advisory Group on Adoption.
One of his first tasks will be to undertake thematic studies on particular aspects of the adoption system causing concern, such as why black and minority ethnic children face particular delays in being placed for adoption.
Commenting on his new appointment, Mr Narey said: "I am delighted to see Tim Loughton and Michael Gove make adoption the priority it should have been for the last few years. As my recent report for The Times argues, adoption can transform the lives of some of the most neglected children in the UK. I will judge my success in this post if adoptions radically increase and if the time taken to complete adoptions is significantly reduced."
New guidance published in February made clear that all local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies must do everything they can to reduce delays, particularly for older and black and ethnic minority children. The guidance also made clear that potential adoptive parents should not be turned down purely on the grounds that they don't share the same ethnic background as the child.