A NEW organisation has been launched to speed up adoption services in Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire Adoption Consortium is made up of 10 social services departments from across the region and three voluntary adoption agencies.

The consortium will link agencies and social services more closely, leading to quicker matching of children and adoptive parents.

Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe - whose constituency includes Kirkburton and Denby Dale - formally opened the new consortium.

Mr Hinchliffe has special links with Catholic Care, one of the three voluntary agencies. He worked as a social worker in Leeds with the agency's chief executive Martin Hirst.

Mr Hirst said Leeds- based Catholic Care would benefit greatly from the new organisation.

He said: "It is real progress for children in care and for the prospective adoptive parents. Previously, there have been delays in them being matched with the right child."

Mr Hirst said Catholic Care was seeking more adoptive families in Huddersfield - for family groups of three children aged up to five, children aged six to eight and children with disabilities.

Parents who can meet the ethnic and cultural needs of certain young children are also being sought.

Mr Hirst said: "There are many myths around about who can adopt.

"We welcome people of all or no religion. By the time a child reaches 18, we would expect his or her adoptive parents to be around 60.

"That means someone who is 50 would be considered for children aged eight and over. We would welcome such applications."

For information about Catholic Care ring 0808 144 2650 or visit www. adoption-yorkshire.org.uk