Take your pick: Ministers open up fostering process

By politics.co.uk staff

Prospective foster parents are to be given more chances to choose the child they will eventually adopt under new plans announced this Christmas.

The government is considering opening up the register of children eligible for adoption to couples looking to adopt.

It is also proposing more 'activity days' in which potential parents can meet and play with children waiting for adoption, giving them a greater chance of finding the kind of child they are looking for.

"I urge everyone this Christmas to think seriously about opening up their home to a child awaiting adoption," children's minister Edward Timpson said.

"We are doing all we can to make sure children in care with a plan for adoption are able to have a loving and stable adoptive family as soon as possible."

The coalition is also looking to hand foster parents the same employment rights as biological parents, giving them paid leave and the right to take time off work to meet their future children before they move in.

Ministers are giving adopted children priority access to schools from next year and extending free early education to two-year-olds.

The 'activity' days' have been piloted by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, which welcomed today's announcement.

"Now, more than ever, we need more people to consider if adoption could be right for them," chief executive David Holmes said.

"We must find families for the thousands of children who are waiting whilst ensuring that adoption support is available to meet the needs of all."