OXFORDSHIRE has been ranked fifth in the latest ‘adoption score cards’ with children waiting 30 per cent less time to find a permanent home than the national average.
But there is still room for improvement, says the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Families.
The Department of Education started scoring councils in 2012 for its Action Plan for Adoption, which aims to cut the time the 6,000 children approved for adoption wait to join families.
In 2011 Oxfordshire had 450 children in its care and scores for the period April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2013 show the average time between a child entering council care and moving in with a family was 450 days, compared with 647 days nationally.
Telford and Wrekin Council’s came top with children waiting an average of 360 days to be placed, while children waited 417 days in Shropshire, 437 in Darlington and 447 in Cornwall.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Families Melinda Tilley said: “These figures show our adoption team is doing a good job in finding the right adoptive parents and helping them provide the stability of a loving home for some of the most vulnerable young people in society.
“It is right that all councils have rigorous processes in place to ensure children are matched with the right families, and this always takes time, but wherever delays can be kept to a minimum, that can only benefit the children.
“This work depends on adoptive families coming forward in sufficient numbers. I would urge anyone to consider whether they could change a child’s life by becoming an adopter.”
There was a 34 per cent rise in number of approved adoptions nationally between 2012 and 2013, but performance targets are set to get even tougher between now and 2016 with the average time between a child entering care and moving in with its family being set at 14 months.
Visit www.oxfordshire gov.uk/adoption or call 0800 783 5724.
The council would like to hear from people willing to adopt older children, children with disabilities and siblings who need to stay together.