CHILDREN in Portsmouth awaiting adoption are being held in care for the longest periods of time across the south east, statistics reveal.
New Department for Education ‘score-cards’ to hold authorities to account over adoption show the city failed to meet the 21-month target by an average of 94 days per child from 2009 to 2011.
The England average falls within the target by 14 days, and Hampshire is performing strongly – with an average waiting time of 18 months.
The scorecards are a key plank of the government’s tougher approach to addressing under-performance in the adoption system, set out in the Action Plan for Adoption in March.
But the city council’s head of children’s social care and safeguarding, Stephen Kitchman, said there was a good reason for the figures.
He said: ‘We are committed to finding adoptive families for all those children for whom that is the right plan.
‘That means we don’t give up on those children who are harder to place because they are older, or have disabilities.
‘However, it can take much longer to place some of these children and that has an effect on how we are ranked on the adoption scorecard.’
Anyone who wants to ask about adopting or would like more information can call (023) 9287 5294.