FAMILIES are being urged to help children in need of a permanent home after Government figures revealed more youngsters in Swindon are waiting to be adopted than across the rest of the county.

Would-be adopters can now access a new map released by the Department for Education showing the areas with the highest number of children waiting for new homes.

The map shows between 18 and 32 children in Swindon were waiting to be adopted when the data was collected in March, while 17 or fewer were waiting in Wiltshire.

A Swindon Council spokesman said: “The number of children waiting for adoption has fallen since these figures were compiled, but our family placement team is always looking for more families from all sections of the community to provide loving homes.

“We actively recruit more prospective parents than we need to provide the best chance of finding an appropriate match for children and this means that we can also contribute to the national pool of adopters, which currently has a shortage.”

Susannah Fernandez, 33, is a single parent adopter in Swindon who had 18-month-old Olivia placed in her care last year. Susannah, who has a daughter of her own, eight-year-old Isabella, said adoption was always something she wanted to do.

“Olivia has settled in very quickly. She adores her big sister and she has formed a very strong attachment to us,” she said.

“As long as you go into it with your eyes open and listen to the advice from the experienced adoption team, the right child is waiting there for you.”

Single people and couples can adopt – couples can be married or not, in civil partnerships or not. They don’t have to own their own home or have a big income although their health needs to be good enough for them to be a hands-on adoptive parent.

Swindon Council’s fostering service, which is also part of the family placement team, has just been given an overall rating of good in its latest Ofsted inspection. Government inspectors said the fostering service provides a good level of support for children and young people and that the social workers are experienced and knowlegeable.

Councillor David Renard, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This report shows that children and young people in Swindon are benefiting from a high quality service. We were graded as good in our last inspection in 2008, but Ofsted have recently introduced more rigorous criteria so we are delighted we have improved in line with the new standards.”

The service was graded as good in three of the four categories with its leadership and management described as outstanding.

For more on adoption or fostering call the family placement team on 01793 465700; to see the adoption map visit www.education.gov.uk/childrenand youngpeople/families/adoption