THERE has been an increase in the number of children waiting to be adopted in Worcestershire in the last three years.

Currently, there are 58 children with placement orders hoping to find families, according to the Adoption Service in Worcestershire. Children’s charity Barnardo’s said nationally it had more than 7,000 children on its register waiting to be adopted – more than at any time in the past five years.

Councillor Liz Eyre, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for children and young people’s social care, said the council now specifically tracked children planned to be adopted to appropriately increase the pace.

She said: “We are aware that there has been an increase over the last three years in the number of children in Worcestershire who have a plan for adoption. However, the positive news is that since April 1, 2012, 40 children have been placed successfully by the Adoption Service and matches are continuing to be made all the time.” During the same period the service had received more than 70 enquiries from potential adoptive parents hoping to find out more about the process.

About 20 potential adopters were also going through the assessment process at any one time. Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo’s which launched its Fostering Adoption Week this week, said it believed everyone had the right to a happy childhood.

“Without a mum or dad to care for them, these children may never experience the love and affection they need to grow and so many of us take for granted.”

Anyone considering adopting can call the Adoption Information Line on 0800 6335442 or visit adoption.

Meanwhile, government plans to strip councils of responsibility for adoption if they are slow to find children new families could be damaging to vulnerable youngsters, it has been claimed.

Councils have twice the success rate of independent adoptive agencies and the shake-up could adversely affect not just children but potential adoptive parents, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The proposals were also described as “heavy handed and unnecessary” by children’s services bosses. Ministers are planning to announce that councils who take too long to find children in care new homes will have the task handed over to private agencies and charities, it has been reported.