Courts and councils will have to give top priority to adoption for children in care in the future, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has confirmed.
The law is to be changed to make it clear that these bodies must look first at long-term placements in a family that will give youngsters who have been suffering from abuse or neglect stability throughout their childhood, she said.
The change comes amid concerns by government that councils and courts do not always give enough thought to the stable home life and high quality care that an adoptive family can provide, and sometimes just focus on who can support a child in the short-term.
Mrs Morgan said: "Every single day a child spends waiting in care is a further delay to a life full of love and stability – and this simply isn't good enough.
"We have a responsibility to transform the lives of our most vulnerable children, making sure they get the opportunities they deserve.
"That's why we are changing the law on adoption to make sure decisions rightly prioritise children's long-term stability and happiness, so that children are placed with their new family as quickly as possible, helping them fulfil their potential and get the very best start in life."
Official figures show that over the last two years, the number of decisions for adoption made by courts and councils has dropped by about 50%.