HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds has been given to Portsmouth City Council to reduce the number of children waiting for adoption.
The government has issued an Adoption Reform Grant 2013/2014 which has given the council £665,582.
This money will be used by the council to meet new priorities set by the government. These include increasing the number of adopters and reducing the number of children waiting to be adopted.
Councillor Rob Wood, the cabinet member for children and education, said: ‘We have received two sums of money which we will use to help reduce the number of children waiting to be adopted.
‘One sum will be used for the start-up and the other for long-term plans.’
The £665,582 has been split into two parts.
The first amount, of £373,092, is non-ringfenced and the council can spend it in any way it feels appropriate.
The other £292,490 is ring-fenced and the council has to report on the use and impact of the grant.
The council has two years in which to spend the money.
Cllr Wood added: ‘At the moment in the city, we have 63 children who are under the care of the local authority.
‘At the end of the two years, we want to see this number reduced.
‘For a city our size, with the levels of deprivation in some of the areas, 63 is about right.
‘But, in my eyes, I would hope that number would be reduced with the money and we will have lower figures.
‘In our first year, the government will be looking at our figures to see if we have shown substantial improvement.
‘Then, in the second year, they will be looking at children who maybe should be in care and plans that need to be taken with them.
‘The aim of the grant is to bridge the gap between children and the adopters.
‘We will be working hard to get more adopters and we want to develop innovative ways of finding families for children who are hard to place.’
On a national scale, there about 4,300 children waiting to be adopted.
It is estimated that more than 3,000 adopters will be needed to even out that number.