Adoption

Adoption

If you’re thinking of adopting, you can find answers to your initial questions, explore the process and view the support available to you and your family here.

Enquire about adoption

We’re looking for people who can offer a loving home to vulnerable children waiting to be adopted. It's a perfect solution if you’re looking to start or extend your family.

Small child with teddy bear

It doesn’t matter if you’re single, a couple, straight or gay or already have an older family – we’d love to hear from you.

You’ll reach our friendly team, here to talk through your options, answer your questions and help you through the process.

There is a shortage of people coming forward to adopt, so please pass this information on to friends and family.

What is adoption?
Parenting through adoption is one of the most positive and rewarding experiences in life for the whole family. Adopting a child means you become their legal parent - providing a permanent new family for them. You have exactly the same rights and responsibilities as birth parents.

Adoption is a wonderful and rewarding experience for everybody involved. Like any family there will be challenges and uncertainties but our team is here to work with you and your children, giving you all the information and support you need. 
Which children need adopting?
There are lots of children aged up to eight-year-olds, who are waiting for their new family.  This includes single children and brothers and sisters who need to stay together.  

To take your first step and enquire about adopting you can:
  • call 01670 62 62 62 for your initial enquiry
  • request a call back
  • attend an information session
  • book a time to meet us at our office 
Adopting siblings
More than half of the children awaiting adoption are siblings and it’s usually best to keep brothers and sisters together. Adopting siblings avoids further pain and trauma caused by separating brothers and sisters, and it helps them settle into their new family much quicker.

It also means:
  • you are starting with a ready-made family
  • you only go through the adoption process once
  • your whole family has a more emotionally positive experience
  • siblings help support each other, and you as their new parent, as you get to know each other in the first few weeks as a family
Adoption information pack & other useful documents
Download the latest version of our adoption information pack If you would like to make an initial enquiry, please complete the adoption enquiry form.

separatorYou can also click on the links below for additional information and download anonymous children's profiles, which show you different examples of children who are seeking a new family.

Additional adoption information
Adoption register
Adoption statement of purpose 2016
Habitual residence information
Information on how to make a complaint or compliment
Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) complaints applicants
Northumberland adoption customer care standards
Northumberland passport for adoption support
Factsheets for LGBT adoptive parents from New Family Social



Types of children who need families
Michael - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 117 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
Lizzi - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 137 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
Rosie - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 111 KB 30/05/2014 16:35
Oliver and Eve - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 109 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
Sid and Al - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 109 KB 30/05/2014 16:35
Ellie - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 112 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
John - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 116 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
Joe - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 114 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
Jack - Anonymous profile 2014.docx 119 KB 30/05/2014 16:34
Profiles of children waiting to be adopted 23 KB 30/05/2014 16:34

 

How to adopt

Find out about the adoption process and the timescales involved.

How to adopt - the home visit
After you’ve enquired, you can request a home visit from a member of our team by completing the adoption enquiry form in the initial enquiry pack we’ll have sent you. The visit allows you to ask us any questions and we get to know you and your family and prepare you for the next steps.

The social worker who visits will ask to see some identification documents and complete their initial report. Then, once you and the team are happy to proceed, you’ll complete the registration of interest form – sometimes called a ROI. 

Various checks are done at this stage and you’ll need to include three references on your form, including two referees who aren’t related to you or your partner. Once we receive your registration of interest, stage one of the adoption process begins.
How to adopt - stage one:
Stage one of the process takes about two months to complete.
  1. Agree an ‘adopter plan’ with your support worker, outlining who does what in the process.
  2. Attend an adoption preparation group – a four-day training course that covers key parenting skills and the special skills to care for children who may have experienced neglect and abuse.
  3. Pre-assessment decision - the adoption agency reviews all of the checks and references gathered to confirm both you and the adoption service are ready to move to stage two.
Adoption preparation course dates 2017
You attend this four-day course after your initial visit, when we all agree to move onto the next stage of the application. It gives you an insight into parenting and child development, as well as food for thought for the rest of the process, adoption and family life in general.

We run four courses across the year.*
 

Mon

Tues

Thurs

Fri

16/01/17

Cramlington

17/01/17

Cramlington

19/01/16

Choppington

20/01/17

Choppington

 

Mon

Tues

Thurs

Fri

03/04/17

Cramlington

04/04/17

Cramlington

06/04/17

Cramlington

07/04/17

Cramlington

 

Mon

Tues

Thurs

Fri

03/07/17

Cramlington

04/07/17

Cramlington

06/07/17

Cramlington

07/07/17

Cramlington

 

Mon

Tues

Thurs

Fri

02/10/17

Cramlington

03/10/17

Cramlington

05/10/17

Cramlington

06/10/17

Cramlington


Venues:

Choppington Social Welfare Centre, Scotland Gate, Choppington, NE62 5SR

Fire Service Headquarters, West Hartford Fire Station, West Hartford Business Park, Cramlington, NE23 3JP



*We may add in more courses throughout the year as required. We will advise you of additional courses as early as possible.
How to adopt - stage two:
This part of the process takes about four months to complete. Stage two is learning more about you and your household and giving you the skills and support you need. You will then begin a series of meetings in your home, where a social worker will:
  • carry out a home study - getting to know you and your family
  • assess your strengths
  • prepare you for the road ahead, helping you to understand the needs of the children
  • present your prospective adopter's report to the adoption panel
During this time you and your social worker will have conversations about your childhood, how you feel about your family and what sort of parents you want to be.

Contacting past partners
The agency may want to contact previous partners, especially if there have been children involved in the relationship, and any adult children you or your partner might have. While this may seem intimidating remember that, like the whole adoption process, this is done with the best interests of the children in mind.

Former partners have no say in your right to adopt, but your social worker may want to discuss with you why your relationship ended and what you learnt from it. If this is a concern, for any reason, speak to us as early as possible.

Approval
Once the assessment process is complete, the social worker will gather all of the information together into a prospective adopter’s report and present it to the agency’s independent adoption panel. You will receive a copy of this and be asked to comment before it goes to the panel.

After reviewing your report, the adoption panel makes a recommendation to our agency decision maker, who issues formal adoption approvals. Once you are approved to adopt, ‘stage two’ is completed and the search for suitable children begins.

The panel is a formal part of the process - it acts as an independent review of the adoption services’ assessment work.
Matching & adoption
We work within Northumberland County Council and with other local authorities to find the right child for your family. Profiles of potential children are shared with you. You, your social worker and the child’s social worker discuss suitability and an independent matching panel makes the final decision.

Finding the right match
Sometimes we will have a child in mind for you, even from the early stages of the adoption process. If that is the case, your journey through this part of the process could be quite short. We will inform you of the child during the assessment process and will make the child’s social worker aware of you at the same time.

Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t an appropriate match for your family in your local area. Thankfully we have lots of ways of expanding our search to find the right child or children for you.

Nationwide search
If you wish, we will place your details on the national adoption register, a database with children and prospective adopters based throughout England and Wales. You can also refer yourself to the register three months after getting approval to adopt.

Another option is to use the national profile-sharing sites Adoption Link and Children Who Wait. The websites, which feature children from all over the country who are looking for adoptive parents, can be used once you’ve been approved as a prospective adopter.

Going to matching panel
Once you’ve agreed a suitable child, your adoption agency will work with the child’s agency who will consider the match.

They’ll review your adoption support plan and, in most cases, you’ll be invited to meet the panel considering the match. If the panel approves the match, the child’s adoption agency then makes the final decision about whether to move forward.
How to adopt - getting to know each other
Initial visits
Once the right child has been found and a match approved, you’ll have a series of introductory meetings, planned with your social worker, where you and the child can get to know each other.

These meetings will happen at a place that’s right for you and your child, leading up to them moving in. Your social worker will continue to support you as you get to know each other, start living together and become a family.

Moving in
After the initial visits, you will meet with foster carers, teachers, social workers and anyone else significantly involved in the child’s care, and agree your adoption placement plan. This plan outlines all the support you will receive and the placement reviews you’ll have. Once everything is agreed, the child comes to live with you.

Initial support
The arrival of a new child is a time of significant change for your whole family. We will be available to support you and you will be eligible to take statutory adoption leave and pay, unless you are self-employed.

We ask adoptive parents spend a minimum of six months at home when a child is first placed, depending on their age, to help you to get to know each other. The time at home together allows you to develop a trusting relationship and bond emotionally.

During this time you will have joint parental responsibility with the birth parents and the agency, though the balance of parental responsibility will vary depending on each individual case.
Making the adoption legal
A social worker will continue to visit and support you until the time feels right for you to apply to the court for an adoption order.

The minimum period before applying for an adoption order is 10 weeks, but many families are helped by a longer period of adjustment and continued support from social workers during this time.

Once an adoption order is granted by the court, the child is legally adopted by you and you have full parental responsibility. The child is now a full member of your family and takes your surname.

Ongoing support
You can receive post-adoption support from the Northumberland family placement service. Visit 'supporting you through adoption' for more.

Step-parent adoption

Adopting your partner's children and becoming their legal parent, is called a step-parent adoption.

Enquire about adoption

Adopting a stepchild – your options
Adoption offers the child a legally permanent relationship with the adoptive parent, which they will have for all of their life. It means the child's resident parent and their partner will share full responsibility for the child.

There are lots of alternatives ways of securing a child’s place in your family, such as changing their name by deed poll or applying for a parental responsibility agreement or order.

Foster to adopt & concurrency

If prospective parents are interested in either of these routes into adoption, your worker will explore this with you in depth.

Enquire about adoption

Foster to adopt:
This is a developing scheme within Northumberland, where the prospective adoptive parents would become the foster carers to a young child; and where we are fairly sure that the plan for adoption will be agreed subject to granting of the placement order.
Concurrency:
Prospective parents who are interested in concurrency would become the foster parents to a child with the aim of going forward for adoption. There is a small chance of the child going back to their birth family and this is being actively assessed during the fostering phase. Parents interested in this route would be signposted to our concurrency partner Barnardo's.
 
What prospective parents who have gone down this route have said:
“If the child returned to the natural parents, that was a risk for us. But the positive aspects of that were explained to us. OK, while we might be bereaved, disappointed, upset, we would also, hopefully, feel we had taken part in a positive process and that if the child did go back to the parents that was the best thing. I think we both knew that concurrency was the better route. Perhaps not for us, but for the child, yes.”
Further information:

Supporting you throughout adoption

Whether you are new to adoption and parenting or experienced, the Northumberland team is with you every step of the way.

New adoption support phone service
From 10th July, you can contact our adoption support co-ordinators, Jane Ryland or Sue Bardsley for support, help and guidance over the phone and email.

This service is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9am till 1pm.

You can talk to Sue or Jane about any issues or questions around adoption support for you, your family or your children. 

Phone: 01670 62 62 62
Email: adoptionsupport@northumberland.gov.uk
 
Why choose our adoption services?
There are lots of benefits to adopting a child through our adoption services. You’ll be fully supported by our friendly team throughout and you’ll benefit from:
  • specialist workers dedicated to getting to know you and the children to make the best family matches
  • access to wider resources for quality family matches, like the North East regional consortium and national network
  • outstanding support from initial enquiry and beyond
  • an Ofsted-rated ‘good’ adoption service
Importantly, the local authority adoption process can also be quicker than applying via private, independent adoption agencies. Agencies have to go through a process of contacting local authorities to match parents with children.

If you apply directly with Northumberland County Council, you will work directly with the team who is responsible for children and families. We also work closely with the other councils across the UK.
What does our adoption support service include?
Our approach is informal, focused and sensitive to your needs. We work with you and partner organisations to develop action plans that guide us through the process and provide the right support for you and your family at the right time.

This can include support with:
  • your child's behaviour, including relationships with others
  • understanding their background
  • filling gaps in early life history
  • contact plan reviews
  • education issues
  • mental or physical health matters
  • adoption records
Out of hours support:
We also provide an emergency evening and weekend service to adopters – call 01670 62 62 62. Our contact centre will take your details and our duty worker will call you back.

Access the Adoption Support Fund:
The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) was established because some families need help to access therapeutic support following adoption.  Click here to find out more about the ASF.
Who can use the adoption support service?
If you live in Northumberland and adopted a child through Northumberland County Council, you can use our support service.

If you live in Northumberland and your adoption was arranged by another agency - they are responsible for assessing your need for services for the first three years after the adoption order was made. After three years, we become responsible for your needs.

Access to children’s services social care records (other than adoption records):
If you would like access to your social care records held by the council, please click to visit our Data Protection webpage and go to 'Useful data protection' links.  The 'Subject access information pack' provides guidance on how to apply.
Support for adopted children & adults
Adopted young people
If you need support, or are having difficulties at home and would just like someone independent and friendly to talk to, contact your adoption support co-ordinator, Sue Bardsley or Jane Ryland, on 01670 62 62 62.

We also love to hear your views and feedback generally. Contact Sue or Jane if you:
  • are interested in future workshops or events
  • would like to join our emailing list for future adoption support communications
  • would be interested in joining our future online survey panel
  • have any other suggestions for adoption support
Telephone: 01670 62 62 62
Email: adoptionsupport@northumberland.gov.uk
Write to: Adoption Support Services, Family Placement Service, 3 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8AP
 
Adoption records for adopted adults
If you’re an adult who was adopted as a child and would like information about the circumstances leading up to your adoption, we can help. It doesn’t matter where you were adopted originally. If you live in Northumberland now, contact us.

If you were adopted in Northumberland but now live in a different area, you can also contact us, but it might be easier for your local authority to help. We’ll respond to requests for access to adoption records in 14 to 21 days.
Adoption support for birth relatives
We offer advice to birth relatives of children who have been adopted. This can include parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts or brothers and sisters.

My child is currently being adopted
If your child, or a member of your family, is placed in our care and their plan is to be adopted, you may have been invited to meetings to discuss and explain what will happen.

Your child's social worker will be able to talk to you about adoption. You can also contact After Adoption Yorkshire, an independent agency, which provides adoption support to birth families.

My child was adopted in the past
If you’re seeking information about, or hope to contact, a child who was adopted many years ago, we can offer you guidance and advice. If contact arrangements were not agreed at the time of the adoption, unless there are exceptional circumstances, we would not normally contact an adopted person under the age of 18 years.

We can help you if you live in Northumberland and are a birth relative of an adopted person, even if the adoption took place elsewhere. We can also help if the adoption was arranged by us, even if you no longer live in Northumberland.

If you wish to make contact with an adopted adult, who is now over 18 years, we can offer you advice and guidance.
Useful adoption support links
  • Adoption UK is the only national self-help charity run by and for adoptive parents and foster carers, offering support before, during and after adoption.
  • New Family Social is the UK network for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adoptive and foster families.
  • Consortium of Adoption Support Agencies (CASA) is a national forum representing registered adoption support agencies (ASAs) in the UK, whether individuals or organisations. CASA provides information on ASAs, peer support between agencies, networking opportunities, a representational forum and a channel for promoting best practice.
  • Sure Start children's centres offer lots of local advice and support for children and families, including parenting support programmes. 
PAC-UK Advice line
Northumberland has a service level agreement with PAC-UK to provide adoption support services to residents of Northumberland.
The Northumberland Adoption Support Passport
Core adoption support and information
You and your child are entitled to, and may benefit from, the following support and information throughout the adoption process and beyond:
  • education: priority access to schools which best meet your child’s needs
  • free early education: from two years old and help with childcare costs
  • pupil premium: schools can access additional funding to help them support adopted children
  • financial: adoption leave and pay is similar to maternity and paternity leave arrangements
  • housing: priority access to social housing. If you are living in council housing, you can also apply for funding so that you are not penalised financially while you have an empty spare room.
  • child’s permanence report: a source of important information about your child’s background and needs. This may also be useful for your child when they are an adult and wish to learn about their life history and heritage.
  • health: a summary of your child’s health needs from their local authority’s medical adviser before they came to live with you
  • life-story work: information about your child’s early years
  • later life letter: explains why your child could not live with their birth family
  • adoption support services: includes your right to request an assessment of any support that is required until your child is 18 years old (or 21 years with a disability)
  • adoption support fund: if your child needs therapeutic support, this can help pay for advice and therapy programmes for your child and family
Download the Northumberland Adoption Support Passport information here.

Useful adoption links & documents

Here you will find a selection of links and documents relating to adoption.

Enquire about adoption

Useful adoption links
Official Ofsted graded good logo
Useful adoption documents

Adoption - contact us

Make enquiries about adopting with Northumberland County Council.

Enquire about adoption

Adoption - call, email or write to us
  • Telephone: 01670 62 62 62
  • Email: familyplacement@northumberland.gov.uk
Please include the following in your email:
  • full name 
  • contact number 
  • address - including postcode 
Write to us:

Family Placement Service
Northumberland County Council
3 Esther Court
Wansbeck Business Park
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 8AP