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Budget to pledge £30m for quicker adoptions

media captionThe children and families minister says the government "needs to get better" at matching children with prospective adoptive parents

The Government has pledged £30m to speed up finding adoptive parents for children in care in England.

The money will be provided this year to local authorities to cover costs they incur finding parents beyond their geographical borders.

It currently takes 18 months on average for children entering care in England to move in with adoptive families.

Campaigners welcomed the money but warned some children have "complex issues", making adopters hard to find.

'Tear down barriers'

The funding, to be included in Wednesday's Budget, will cover the £27,000 fee usually incurred by authorities to find parents outside their local area.

The fee covers the cost of finding, assessing and matching a parent and child. Adoptive parents are either found by another local authority or by a voluntary sector agency.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I am determined to tear down the barriers to children in care being found loving adoptive parents. The average time it takes to place a child with a new family has been falling and I am delighted we are able to offer this funding to try to ensure it falls further."

The £30m funding could pay for more than a third of the 3,000 children currently in care to find a home.

'Complex issues'

Chancellor George Osborne added: "We cannot sit by when so many children are waiting so long to find a stable, loving home, particularly when there are parents out there who want to adopt. It just isn't good enough.

"So I want to do all I can to make sure that there are as few barriers as humanly possible between children in care and their new parents."

The change was welcomed as a "bold move" by the children's charity Coram.

But the British Association for Adoption and Fostering said there was an "urgent need" to address the fact that many children in care had what it called "a range of complex issues" which could "make it difficult to find adopters."

The government said that since 2010 the number of children adopted increased from 3,200 to 5,050 by 2013/14.

The average time it took to place a child with adoptive parents fell to 533 days in 2013/14 from an average of 656 days in 2012/13.

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