Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are spending too long in care, according to councils in the north-east of England.
More people are needed to foster and adopt youngsters
Now eight local authorities are joining forces to improve the success of foster placements and adoptions in the region.
Councils on Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside have commissioned the first research of its kind in the region to look at understanding the needs of black and minority ethnic youngsters in care.
It is hoped the result will be a dramatic reduction in the
number of children in the North East waiting for foster and adoption places.
Tyneside-based research group Woodholmes ksa is carrying out the project on behalf of councils including Gateshead, Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
Rachael Shimmin, service manager for Looked-After Children at Gateshead Council, said: "There has never been any significant research undertaken into the needs of children and potential adopters and foster carers from black and ethnic minority groups in this region.
"Whereas Gateshead, and our colleagues in other parts of the North, are seeing significant improvements in the number of white children placed successfully, there is still a greater emphasis needed in meeting the needs of black and minority ethnic children in care.
"This major piece of work will enable us to tailor our services more successfully and also look at channelling more resources to create a regional placement service for black and minority ethnic children.
"We want to make a real contribution to the awareness and understanding of these issues amongst social workers, educationalists and professionals right across the North East."
Felicity Collier, Chief Executive of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), said: "One in five children in the UK waiting for adoption are from black and minority ethnic communities.
"Sadly, many of these children wait far too long for new families.
"We welcome this important project which we hope will go a long way towards helping us understand how we can recruit more black and minority ethnic adopters and result in many more children finding loving and lifelong homes."