The standard of local education authorities across Wales is a cause for concern according to Education Minister Leighton Andrews.
The Children and Young People Committee were listening to evidence on the proposed School Standards and Organisation Bill, on 9 May 2012.
The education minister stressed that very few local education authorities were performing well.
Mr Andrews said: "No local authorities are excellent, a small number are good, a number are adequate and some are unsatisfactory."
He added: "There are significant challenges that have to be addressed by most local authorities."
According to the minister decisions should be made at a local level and the School Standards and Organisation Bill will make it easier for authorities to intervene with schools across Wales.
The minister said: "Local authorities need to understand the powers they have and make it simpler for them to use them."
The bill will aim to:
- introduce statutory guidance for school intervention and drive up school improvement.
- reform the statutory process for school organisation so that decisions are taken locally wherever possible.
- introduce a new right for parents to call meetings with School Governing Bodies.
- give local authorities and schools flexibility over the pricing of school meals.
The committee also listened to evidence from Adoption UK and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) in their inquiry into adoption.
According to Ann Bell from Adoption UK there is an "extreme shortage" of adopters in Wales.
Ms Bell stressed the need for more permanent homes to be found for children as more children are entering the care system in Wales.
During 2011, there was a 30.5% increase in the number of children waiting to be adopted.
Currently in Wales, 168 children are waiting to be linked with families.
The association believes that adoption services are "significantly underfunded" and too many families are left to struggle in their task of re-parenting children who have suffered early neglect and abuse.
Wendy Kiernan from BAAF stressed adoption services for birth parents were inconsistent across Wales.
Ms Kiernan said that there was evidence that some local authorities across Wales were refusing to deal with families who were looking to adopt, due to the shortage of services available.
Ms Kiernan also suggested that there was an "imbalance of power" within local authorities, with some adoption officers favouring certain adoptees over others.
BAAF also believes there is a need for a recruitment strategy in Wales to tackle the current shortage of adopters.
Members closed the meeting with a technical briefing on the Social Services Bill.