David Cameron announces plan for quicker adoptions

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David Cameron will call for the adoption process to be sped up to end the "tragedy" of children waiting to be placed in a loving family home.

The Prime Minister wants to double the number of children - currently around 10% - placed with their adoptive families before legal proceedings have been completed.

There has been progress on the issue, Mr Cameron said, but added more can be done.

"It is a tragedy that there are still too many children waiting to be placed with a loving family. We have made real progress but it remains a problem," he said in a statement to the BBC.

He added: "I want to make sure that we do everything we can so children are placed in a loving home as soon as possible."

Almost half of local authorities in England do not have early placements ahead of adoption, officials said.

Mr Cameron has called for the numbers to double, meaning 500 more children could be placed in their adoptive homes sooner.

As part of the plans all councils will be required to say how many children go to live with their families early.

Ministers believe early placement schemes can reduce by half the time families wait for legalities to be finalised.

Councils will also be subject to tougher regulations around special guardianship orders to avoid children being sent to live with "distant unsuitable relations they have never met", the announcement said.

There are also plans to boost regional adoption agencies over the next five years.

Earlier this year the Government announced proposals to support local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies that wish to merge, in a bid to give children access to a wide range of potential adoptive families.