THE length of time children are spending in care before being adopted has dropped dramatically over the last 12 months.

Earlier this week, the Government released figures showing that the average waiting time in Swindon had fallen by almost 150 days.

The figure is calculated by taking a three year average. The 2009-12 figure saw children having to wait on average 881 days which by 2010-13 had fallen down to 737 days.

Although this means Swindon remains slightly above the governments target figure, it is being celebrated as good news as the figures show that 51 per cent of those who where adopted were done so within 200 days.

Coun Fionuala Foley (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn), the cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We’re pleased with the figures and general performance trend over the past year.

“It’s generally recognised that Swindon’s overall performance on adoption is very good, and we are particularly strong on recruiting people to become adoptive parents.

“However, there is always room for improvement and we have worked on a number of things in the past year which have helped, including working with the courts to speed up the legal process.”

The government bring out scorecards each year for local authorities to measure their performance against national thresholds.

One of the main reasons for the figure being above the national target is Swindon traditionally has a very low number of children going through care. This means that the handful of cases in which a child takes longer to place bring up the whole average figure.

Coun Foley said: “Like many smaller local authorities with fewer children waiting to be adopted than larger councils, our adoption figures are prone to being affected quite significantly by individual cases where specific circumstances make adoption more time-consuming.

“This was partly the case last year and will be a continual challenge for us in the future.”