Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Thursday, 19 July 2012 12:25 UK

Children and Young People Committee

A Welsh government minister told AMs that she was "committed to eliminating waiting lists for adopters".

The deputy minister for children and social services was giving evidence to the Children and Young People Committee, on 19 July 2012.

Gwenda Thomas told AMs that her main aim was to eliminate adoption waiting lists in Wales by creating a new National Adoption Service, during a committee inquiry.

She said: "I am committed to eradicating waiting list for adopters.

"We have to have this as a goal; there shouldn't be waiting lists and the National Adoption Service should help us achieve that."

The committee has heard past evidence from adopters and adoption agencies that there are serious inconsistencies within the service in Wales.

Agencies reported a reduction in the number of parents approved for adoption.

However according to the minister, assessing potential parents can take between six and eight months

The average time spent in care by the 252 children adopted last year was 905 days.

Mrs Thomas agreed that these inconsistencies were "unacceptable" and that the new National Adoption Service will develop a framework to address these problems.

The new national service will ultimately be "owned" by local authorities across Wales.

She said that the proposed Social Services Bill, that's currently under scrutiny, will also bring local adoption agencies together to form a single service.

The committee also heard evidence from the Education Minister Leighton Andrews on the School Standards and Organisation Bill.

The bill is designed to strengthen standards and reduce bureaucracy in the nation's education system.

It will reform the statutory school organisation process and will place an obligation on local authorities to prepare and publish a Welsh language plan.

Mr Andrews accused the Schools Improvement Services in Wales of being "too cosy" with schools.

He said that in the past, school improvement services had been "concerned about keeping on the right side of head teachers".

The minister said that this had resulted in schools "falling into the special measures".

Blaenau Gwent local education authority was placed in special measures in July 2011 after a critical inspectors' report.

Children and Young People Committee membership


Story Tools

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific