David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), said of the new guidelines on adoptions:
"We welcome the government's firm commitment to adoption and in particular the publication of this timely new guidance which we contributed to extensively.
"It is important to recognise that there is much good practice already in adoption although this is not always uniformly applied. The challenge is to ensure that every agency builds on best practice to ensure that no child is deprived of a loving adoptive home.
"Adoption provides very clear benefits to children in very vulnerable circumstances - we must all ensure that whenever a child needs adoption that that plan is realised without delay."