A GOVERNMENT change to the way families can choose which area to adopt a child from will help in the drive to recruit much needed adopters, says Buckinghamshire County Council.

The new initiative, which came into effect on December 24, will let potential adopters use an online mapping system to help match them to children who need adopting, in areas other than their own.

With more than 60 children in Bucks waiting to find permanent homes, potential parents are being encouraged to come forward to provide a family and stability for what are some of the county’s most vulnerable children.

Councillor Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Children Services, said: "Our aim for all children is to give them the best possible life chances, which means offering the opportunity to adopt to the widest possible range of people. Adoption is life changing for adoptive parents and children, creating a family for a child who needs love and stability to achieve their potential."

In the last year, BCC says it has seen an increase in both the numbers of children approved for adoption and the number of approved adopters, but with an average of 11 children coming into its care every month, many new families are still needed.

The council cited the example of Sharon and Richard, who struggled for years with fertility treatment, before trying something new.

They said: "As with many adopters, adoption was the next natural step for us to consider after years of fertility treatment. We realised that we both felt the same - something was missing from our lives and that something was a child.

"It was a long and arduous journey and there were many times when we wondered why we were putting ourselves through it but in the back of our minds we kept thinking stick with it, it’ll be worth it in the end. And it was.

"Meeting our little boy (then 2 ½ yrs old) for the first time was amazing. He called us Mummy and Daddy from the outset and despite introductions being extended, he settled from the minute we brought him home. The first night was a very surreal experience - we sat on the sofa looking up at the ceiling saying wow - this is it - we’re finally parents."

Cllr Macpherson continued: "Where adoption is in a child’s best interests we want to make sure that they can be matched with a family as soon as possible. At the moment some children have to wait too long and we urgently need more people to come forward so that they can make sure these children can have the family life they deserve."

BCC is keen to hear from married couples, single people, unmarried couples and same sex couples who want to adopt. Adopters must be over 21 and many people successfully adopt into their 40s and early 50s. Childless couples and those with children, including those with older children, are welcome to apply.

Anyone interested in adopting a child, should call the First Step Team on 0800 160 1900 email adoption@buckscc.gov.uk or visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/adoption