The government is planning to revamp the adoption system amid concerns the current system is like the “Spanish Inquisition”.
Children's minister Tim Loughton said the current system was "putting people off" and more adopters were "desperately" needed.
A group of experts will draw up plans to overhaul the system, working with the coalition's adoption tsar, former chief executive of the charity Barnardo's Martin Narey, to work out how to streamline and remove bureaucracy from the system.
"This is a significant moment. We made the system work more quickly in the past and have increased adoptions, only for numbers to fall back again. But this will, I believe, ensure a permanent increase," Narey said.
"I am simply delighted that the children's minister has decided to set it aside and start again. This is a significant moment. We made the system work more quickly in the past and have increased adoptions, only for numbers to fall back again. But this will, I believe, ensure a permanent increase."
Statistics show children have to wait an average of 21 months before being adopted, and in 25% of cases it can take over three years.
Loughton said he was "determined to change this": "I have this week set up a new expert group to look at radical reform of the assessment process. I want it to be quicker and more effective at approving adoptive parents and matching them with children. We cannot afford to sit back and lose potential adoptive parents when there are children who could benefit hugely from the loving home they can provide.”
David Holmes, of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, welcomed the review but cautioned that speed "isn't everything".
"We want the process to be as efficient as possible, to work as well as possible and really importantly, to be as consistent as possible across the country because we know how important it is to have a supply of adopters ready and waiting to adopt those children who are waiting," he told BBC Breakfast.
The group will start work in the new year.