Children waiting for an adoption in London have to wait more than four months for a judge to approve their application.

Courts in London take 17.3 weeks to issue an order of adoption. This is the second longest wait for children and their new parents in the country, figures from Ministry of Justice reveal.

The average time for a order of adoption in England and Wales is 10 weeks.

To make an adoption legal, it is necessary to apply for an adoption court order, which comes after a child has been matched with their new parents.


The adoption court order gives the adoptive parents parental rights and responsibilities for the child and once granted makes the adoption permanent.

In the region, there were 443 orders heard by the courts in 2016/17.

The first step for an adoption is to contact an adoption agency which will assess if an adopter is suitable to become an adoptive parent.

The adoption approval process normally takes around six months.

If the applicant meets the requirements, the agency begins the process of finding a child for the applicant to adopt, referring to the Adoption Register for England or National Adoption Service for Wales, the registers that hold details of children who need adopting.

It can take up to three months. When there is match and the child has lived with the adopters for at least 10 weeks, they can apply for an adoption order.

In the south east, cases take an average of 0.1 weeks, while in the Midlands, parents and children can expect to wait 18.2 weeks - the longest wait in the country.

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