Councils in England could be forced to merge their services to speed up adoption rates, under measures included in next week’s Queen’s Speech.
Children can spend months in care waiting for adoptive parents to be found, according to ministers.
Councils should join forces to match children and families far quicker, said children’s minister Edward Timpson.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were already working together on adoption.
Ministers believe adoption is happening at too localised a level, which limits the number of families available to adopt and leads to delays.
Official figures suggest more than 3,000 children already put forward by local authorities for adoption are waiting to be matched with parents.
More than half of these have spent 18 months in care, says the government.