Figures released by the Department for Education show that more children in care were adopted in 2012 than in the past 20 years.
The annual looked-after children statistical first release shows that 3,980 children were adopted between April 2012 and March 2013, up from 3,470 the previous year.
The research also showed that 50,900 children are in stable foster care placements, an increase of 2% since last year - and 16% since 2009.
Recent reforms to the adoption process have included a two-stage approval process aimed at granting approval to adopters within 6 months. A new legal obligation has also been placed on all adoption agencies to refer prospective adopters to the Adoption Register within 3 months of approval. Agencies are also now under a duty to ensure that the information on children waiting to be adopted is kept up to date, as well as referring the children within 3 months of the adoption decision. The assessment and approval process for foster carers has also been streamlined and foster carers now have greater authority to make day-to-day decisions about children in their care.
Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minister, said:
"It is hugely encouraging that the number of children adopted from care has risen to the highest level yet - but too many children are still waiting too long for stable, loving homes.
More needs to be done to recruit adoptive parents. That's why we have made the £150 million Adoption Reform Grant available for local authorities to spend on recruitment reform, and this summer I gave voluntary adoption agencies a further £16 million to expand and recruit more adoptive parents. I hope to see this funding deliver results."