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Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Friday, 9 March 2012

Adoption delay 'scandalous'

David Cameron is to set out measures designed to speed up the adoption process and to tackle what he says are the "absurd barriers to mixed-race adoption".

The proposals would require councils in England to attach less weight to ethnicity in considering potential parents.

"Black children wait scandalous periods of time before being adopted because of the search for an ethnic match," the government's adoption adviser Martin Narey told the Today programme. "Race does matter but nowhere near as much as the system suggests at the moment."

Mr Narey said there was "a very strong case" for speeding up the process of adopting in any case.

"Every month that an adoption is delayed… is damaging to the child," he told the Today programme's Justin Webb.

Matt Dunkley, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS), said they support "anything which helps speed up process safely."

But he maintained that "race is central to identity" and warned that social workers would have to be very careful in cases of mixed-race adoption.

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