More than four million people want to adopt a child – but are put off by 'myths' and red tape.
Now a new national online service is being launched to help prospective adopters give a child a family.
For the first time, the First4Adoption service gathers the evidence and information people need to navigate the adoption system in one place.
First4Adoption, which will run alongside the existing information line (0300 222 0022), is intended to help overcome these barriers and dispel the myths.
Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families who has two adopted brothers, said: "Every child deserves a loving home, but too many children are waiting too long. I want to encourage everyone thinking about adopting to take the first steps to offering a child the love and stability that they so desperately need.
"I want no prospective parent to be in any doubt that the government, and the whole system, are on their side. For too long families have been deterred by baffling, over wieldy and unduly slow processes, or by myths around the types of families sought.
"There are lots of children out there, who need families, all over the country.
"I urge anyone considering adopting to access First4Adoption, call the information line (0300 222 0022), and take that first step towards the challenge – and joy – of being an adoptive parent."
In March 2012 there were 4,600 children waiting to be adopted. Figures show that over 600 additional adopters are needed annually to keep up with the growing number of children waiting to be adopted, and a further 3,000 adopters are needed to tackle the backlog of children waiting for homes.
The research, by the Department for Education, 'Understanding attitudes, motivations and barriers to adoption and fostering' shows:
• There could be up to up to four million people in England who would be 'fairly likely', 'very likely' or 'certain to' consider adopting at some point in the future.
• Over 650,000 are 'very likely' or 'certain' to consider adopting imminently.
• Potential adopters were found to have deep misconceptions about the type of people who can adopt and complexities in the adoption system.
The online service gives clear, independent information about adopting - from who can adopt to how to start the adoption process - together with examples of people from a range of backgrounds who have successfully adopted, a myth-busting section and an adoption agency-finder.
Would-be adopters can also call the Info line staffed by trained advisers to get authoritative information about all aspects of adopting, and to find adoption agencies in their area.
Carol Homden, Chief Executive of children's charity Coram, which is jointly running First4Adoption with Coram Children's Legal Centre and Adoption UK said: "We know that there are many people in England who would consider giving a loving home to a child waiting to be adopted and want clear information about the process.
"First4Adoption has been set up to provide a much-needed first point of contact for people interested in adopting. If you have a question about your suitability to adopt or about the process of adopting a child, do visit our new website at First4adoption.org.uk or call our friendly, trained advisors on 0300 200 2222."
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