The Department for Education has given £645,000 to regional adoption agencies (RAAs) in a bid to find more adoptive parents.

It is hoped the number of people coming forward to adopt will be significantly increased, particularly those from the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community.

Adoption UK welcomes the funding and the impact it could have on reducing the time children in care spend waiting to be matched with a family.

Chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown said: “There is no right number of adoptions. However, the decline in recent years, despite the number of children coming into care increasing, has been a cause for concern for all. It is pleasing to see this concern finally translated into action.”

Children from black and minority ethnic communities wait longer to be placed for adoption because of a shortage of prospective adopters from ethnic minority backgrounds. Adoption UK’s recent Adoption Barometer survey found that less than five per cent of adopters in England come from the BAME community.

Dr Armstrong Brown said: “No child should be waiting in care because of the colour of their skin or their religion. Above all, children need families. Interracial adoption can be successful and produce great outcomes for children.

“But while we should not prioritise ethnicity over the other needs of a child, there is no need for colour blindness. There are obvious benefits to placing a child, who is already wrestling with issues around their identity, with a family that looks like them and is well-placed to support their culture and heritage.”

In England, local authority adoption services are merging into RAAs which cover much larger geographical areas.

The new funding will allow RAAs to work together on recruiting more adopters across the country, including areas in which local authorities are not yet in an RAA.

With more than double the number of children waiting than there are approved adopters, every potential adopter who comes forward is incredibly valuable.

It is particularly hoped that more adopters will be recruited for those children deemed harder to place – that is children who are BAME, older, part of a sibling group, or have special needs.