New government proposals unveiled this week will offer parents of adopted children workplace equality with biological parents when it comes to taking paid parental leave.

Under the measures, which are designed to encourage more people to adopt and to make it easier for those that do to balance working life with child care responsibilities, maternity and paternity leave for adoptive parents will be brought in line with that of biological parents.

Furthermore, they will be given the right to take time off work to meet the children they are set to adopt before they move in with the family, helping to make the transition to a new family as smooth as possible.

The government says that these measures will help make the adoption process “swifter, more effective and robust”, following recent figures which revealed that the number of children available for adoption in England has risen from 3,000 in 2010 to more than 4,000 in 2012.

“We are doing all we can to make sure children in care with a plan for adoption are able to have a loving and stable adoptive family as soon as possible,” said children and families minister Edward Timpson.

“We know that children do well in an adoptive family and I hope this comprehensive package of support will lead to more and more people having the confidence to come forward and provide a chance for these children to thrive and reach their potential.”

Other measures to be introduced include encouraging the greater use of ‘Adoption Activity Days’, as pioneered by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, where prospective parents can meet children waiting for adoption.

The government also plans to extend the free early education offered to two year-olds to adopted children from 2014, as well as giving them priority school access from 2013.

“I urge everyone this Christmas to think seriously about opening up their home to a child awaiting adoption,” added Mr Timpson.