By politics.co.uk staff
Children being of a different ethnic group to prospective parents should not be a barrier to adoption, a minister has said.
Tim Loughton, the children's minister said in an interview with the Times that the current guidelines which encourage social workers to match up the ethnicity of children and adoptive parents needed a shift in emphasis.
Mr Loughton said: "If it is a great couple offering a good, loving, stable permanent home. That should be the number one consideration.
"Too many social workers are holding out for the perfect match, so suitable couples are turned away and children are staying in care for years as a result."
The current guidance does insist that race should not be a barrier in choosing adoptive parents, but suggests it is a "significant consideration" in making a decision on suitable adoptive parents.
Mr Loughton argued that a change needed to take place in the culture of adoption services to focus on getting children into stable homes more quickly rather than on racial match-ups.
There are no plans to change legislation or the letter of the guidance, but rather to shift the way it is executed by social workers.
Ethnic minority babies constituted nearly a quarter of all adoptions last year. The number of successful adoptions is, however, dwarfed by the number of children in the care system.