Nearly 7,000 people who have visited England’s national adoption service website since it launched last year have gone on to contact an adoption agency, it has emerged.

Statistics released by the First4Adoption service, which launched in January 2013 and became fully operational in April 2013, show that in its first year of operation, 94,752 individuals used the website and there were 2,196 calls to its information line.

The service’s annual report reveals that a total of 6,808 website visitors went on to directly contact an adoption agency, with evidence also emerging that some of these people have become approved adopters.

From a sample of 48 service users between April and July 2013, two (4.2 per cent) have already been approved as adopters and are waiting to be matched, and a further nine (18.8 per cent) are now prospective adopters and have started the stage two adoption assessment process.

The report states that, although the sample is small, the results suggest that “the service is working in terms of directing serious potential adopters to agencies that are ready and waiting to accept them”.

Carol Homden, of First4Adoption, described the first year’s results as “very encouraging”.

“With local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that those people who are willing and able to become adopters receive the right preparation and support to do so,” she said.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson, said: “It is fantastic news that after just 12 months more than 96,000 people have reached out to this vital service.

“However, we know there is still a shortage of adopters and that work needs to be done to ensure the 6,000 children who need a safe and caring home are placed more quickly”