HAMPSHIRE County Council has backed the idea of forming Regional Adoption Agencies as part of a government revamp.

New government legislation aimed at making adoption easier has been welcomed by county bosses but say work still needs to be done on finalising the details on how the model would work.

Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services, has said the new Education and Adoption act will make it easier for local authorities to join together so they can gain the benefits of working in partnership.

He added: “As a result, the Department for Education has asked local authorities to submit expressions of interest in formalising regional partnership arrangements between local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies, to support the adoption of children nationally. Hampshire is keen to forge partnerships in this way, however, there is still work to be done in finalising details going forward.

“As far as we are concerned, the children come first and we do all that we can to do right by them.”

“In Hampshire we have always worked in partnership with other local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies to ensure that children who are unable to live with their birth family are placed with an adopted family at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The act, that is due to go before the House of Lords to scrutinise tomorrow, will allow councils to form Regional Adoption Agencies.

The act is aimed at helping to tackle the problem of long waiting times for children looking for adoption as they will have a bigger area to find parents.

It is a boost to the Daily Echo’s Give a Child a Home campaign which was aimed at highlighting the need to find loving homes for dozens of youngsters across both Southampton and Hampshire.

Cllr Mans added: “Hampshire Children’s Services is performing well against the Government’s adoption scorecard, with children being placed for adoption in Hampshire spending less time in care than other areas of the country.

“In Hampshire the percentage of children who wait less than 21 months between entering care and moving in with their adoptive family is 58 per cent against the national average of 55 per cent.

“As an individual authority Hampshire has a strong track record of performance in finding suitable homes for children.”