Hackney Council named and shamed for leaving children languishing in care rather than finding adoptive homes

Hackney Council has been named and shamed for leaving children languishing in care, rather than finding them new homes through adoption.

New figures - released as part of David Cameron’s drive to increase the number of children adopted - show over the last three years, Hackney has the worst track record in the UK and has failed find new families within 12 months for 57 per cent of its children destined for adoption.

The best performer was York, which found new homes for all the children in their care prepared for adoption.

Ministers are urging local authorities to speed up the process, and are set to impose a six-month target for adoptions.

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton warned should councils fail to place children within a year, the government “may get someone in who is going to do a better job for children in the care system.”

MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott expressed concern Hackney was bottom of the league table.

She added it was important to establish whether the cause was inefficiency or if there were other reasons Hackney is taking longer to place children with adoptive parents.

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“Poor boroughs like Hackney face difficulties in obtaining adopters,” she said.

“Families may be willing but housing conditions and the size of property may be an issue.”

Alan Wood, director of children’s services in Hackney, said placing a child quickly should not be the only consideration upon which authorities were judged.

“We have got one of the best records of stability of placement; hardly any, if any, of our placements ever break down,” he said.

“You will note on the same league tables that Hackney is doing extremely well in the education and performance of looked-after children, we’re the fourth best in the country.”

Earlier this month the Department of Education revealed just 60 babies were adopted in England last year.

In Hackney only seven out of 42 – or 17 per cent – of children on Hackney’s adoption list last year were given the chance of a permanent family life, none of whom were babies under the age of one.