NEW measures to cut down on the time children spend in care by speeding up the adoption process were announced this week.

Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to work with specialist voluntary agency Coram to improve decision-making and minimise delays in the adoption process.

According to the council's adoption annual review for 2009-10 plans for adoption were made for 58 children in the county, and 29 children were matched with adoption families.

Of those matches, 25 were made within 12 months.

As part of the new partnership, Barbro Loader, who has worked for both local government and Coram, has been appointed as the new adoption partnership manager.

Barbro will be joining Cambridgeshire in early September on a two-year contract. It will be her responsibility to improve practice across the system.

County Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for children and young people said: "Cambridgeshire's adoption service was rated as 'good' in its most recent OfSTED inspection, but this is about striving for excellence by working with a partner with an excellent reputation in the field."

Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram, said: "We are delighted to be working with such a forward thinking local authority and building on Cambridgeshire's already solid foundation for adoption.

"Coram has one of the highest adoption placement success rates in the country. As the only adoption agency in East Anglia, we have many years' experience in the region, helping adopters to provide new loving, stable homes for children who need them most.

"It is the legal status of adoption and permanency which underpins a child's sense of belonging which lasts a lifetime. This is what we will strive to achieve for vulnerable children in Cambridgeshire."