Councils creating regional adoption agencies will be boosted by £4.5m extra funding, the Department for Education has announced.
Voluntary and local authority adoption agencies ready to go regional during the 2015-16 financial year will be able to access the fund to help the process, announced children’s minister Edward Timpson.
Local adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies who have an initial idea for how they want to work regionally can also apply for the funding.
The controversial plans to merge local adoption agencies were announced last month. The money has been earmarked to help “trailblazing councils” set up agencies, with the first ones up and running “months earlier than planned”.
Timpson believes the funding will help speed up the adoption process, which he criticised as “[not] good enough”.
“Where adoption is proven to be in the best interest of the child, we have a moral mission to make sure they are matched quickly with parents who are right for them – regardless of where they live,” Timpson said.
“The new funding announced today will help councils come together and access an ever growing pool of approved adopters – creating families quickly and successfully,” he added.
The extra funding is available to voluntary and statutory adoption agencies in the financial year 2015-16 only.