David Cameron is to announce plans to speed up the amount of time it takes to place children with adopters.

Youngsters will be able to move in with their possible future permanent families before lengthy legal procedures are finalised, the Prime Minister will reveal today.

Under the plans, men and women who have been cleared as adopters can become a child's foster parent until they are legally allowed to adopt them. Now, local authorities generally wait until court orders are made before beginning their search for a permanent home.

Mr Cameron said: "I'm changing the law and calling for urgent action – both from local authorities and from potential adopters – to get the system moving."

Ministers will legislate "as soon as possible" to make fostering by potential adopters standard practice. It comes after the Government pledged to take action when it emerged that just 60 babies under the age of one were adopted in 2010/11.