If you are thinking about adoption, please see the details below of our regional agency, Adopt North East.

Adopt North East

From 1 December 2018 adoption services from North Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland and South Tyneside councils will be delivered by Adopt North East, the new regional adoption agency.

Adopt North East brings together the best practices from each local authority and will provide excellent adoption services that transform children’s and families' lives for the better


Adopt North East delivers the following services across the five local authority areas:

  • Recruitment and assessment of prospective adopters
  • Matching and placement – to match prospective adopters with children in need of adoption
  • Post placement and post adoption order support
  • Support and advice to all affected by adoption
  • Develop and manage all forms of post adoption contact between adopted children and birth families
  • Step parent adoption
  • Inter-country adoption.

For further information, please contact Adopt North East:

Telephone    0191 643 5000




Postal address:

Balliol Pembroke Wing, Chesters Avenue, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12 8QP


If you have previously been in touch to enquire about adopting children with Northumberland Adoption, the Family Placement Service is still available on 01670 62 62 62. 

Adopt North East are handling new enquiries and all aspects of adoption support.

Lots of people can adopt and would make great parents, so don’t rule yourself out.

You can adopt with us if:

  • you are single or a couple – couples must have lived together in a stable relationship for at least 18 months
  • you are straight or gay
  • you are over 21
  • you or your partner are permanently living in the UK or the UK has been your home base for more than a year.  The legal term for this is ‘habitually resident’.
  • you are living in your own rented or mortgaged home
  • you are financially stable – although you don’t necessarily need to be in work
  • any children in your family are two to three years older than the child or children you may adopt
 We work with other North East council adoption teams to support adoption across the UK.

Other things to consider:

Police checks
Police disclosure barring service (DBS) records will be checked as part of the process. Certain offences, like crimes against children or violent crime, may affect your application. All offences and the circumstances surrounding them are individually considered within the application process.

Being a smoker does not prevent an application to adopt. However, unless there are exceptional circumstances we don’t place children under the age of five, or children with respiratory difficulties, in a household where there is a smoker.  This includes users of vapes / e-cigarettes.
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 grow your family.

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.

Please contact Adopt North East:

0191 643 5000

The adoption information pack:

These explain the application process, matching and support available to you and your family. 
Types of children who need families:

Our example profiles are based on children for whom we have found families in the past.  They give you an idea of different children's personalities, family background, along with their current and potential future needs.  They are similar to real life profiles that you will see as you go through the matching phase of your adoption journey:

Example profiles of children waiting for adoption

Additional adoption information
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. 
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.  

The following document gives example profiles of children for whom we are seeking families.  They give you an idea of the children and their potential needs.  They are similar to real life profiles that you will see as you go through the matching phase of your adoption journey:

Adoption example profiles

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
These sessions are informal, friendly and a great chance to find out more about adoption.

Your next adoption information session

Northumberland has joined forces with North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and Newcastle adoption services forming the regional adoption agency - Adopt North East.. 

Adopt North East will have details of future events on the website:


0191 643 5000

Find out about the adoption process and the timescales involved.

To take your first step to enquire about adopting, contact our regional agency Adopt North East:



0191 643 5000

At the end of our initial phone questionnaire, if both parties are happy to move forward we can book in a home visit from a member of our team.  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 adoption social worker who visits will ask to see some identification documents and complete their home visit report.  Then, once you and the team are happy to proceed, you’ll complete the registration of interest form – sometimes called an 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 your registration of interest has been acknowledged by the team manager, stage one of the adoption process begins.
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 (APG) – 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.
The Adoption Preparation Group (APG) 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.

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.

Once the assessment process is complete, the social worker will gather all of the information together into a prospective adopter’s report (PAR) 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.
We work within Northumberland County Council and externally 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 in 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 or children during the assessment process and will make their social worker aware of you at the same time.

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 Linkmaker 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 to go ahead with a match, 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.
Initial visits
Once the match is approved, your social worker will support you with a series of planned introductory meetings, where you and the child or children can get to know each other.

These meetings will happen at a place that’s right for you and your child or children, 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.
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.
Whether you are new to adoption and parenting or experienced, the Northumberland team is with you every step of the way.

By adopting with us, you’ll benefit from:
  • adoption specialists, dedicated to making the best family matches by getting to know you and the children
  • especially strong links with all UK councils – helping us find the right children for your family from right across the nation
  • ongoing support and advice, whenever you need us, is just a phone call or an email away

Support – for life
Our support doesn’t end when you sign the adoption papers.  You can count on us at any time in your life.  Plus, we can help you with lots of extra things that will make a huge difference to your family. 

We can help your child get into the right school.

Financial support
Did you know you’re entitled to the same maternity and paternity leave as birth parents?  We can guide you through what adoption leave and pay your employer should offer.  And later, we can help with child care costs and other funding too.

We can give you priority access to social housing with no bedroom tax to pay while you wait to fill your spare room.

Making an instant connection
As well all the training and preparation you receive, we provide lots of information about your child, their health needs and their background, helping you develop a strong bond with each other from the start.

Discover more
For an informal chat with one of our friendly team, contact Adopt North East:


0191 643 5000


You can contact our regional agency Adopt North East for adoption support:

0191 643 5000

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.
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.
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.
Adopted young people
If you need support, or are having difficulties at home and would just like someone independent and friendly to talk to, please contact our regional adoption agency Adopt North East:

0191 643 5000

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.
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.
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.
  • 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+ 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.
BMX superstar becomes Adoption UK ambassador
John Buultjens cm
Adoption UK is delighted to announce that adoptee, author and BMX superstar John Buultjens has become the charity's latest ambassador. 

He joins the charity's already formidable team of ambassadors which includes two Olympians, a broadcasting heavyweight and a West End musical star.

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

For step parent enquiries, please contact our regional adoption agency, Adopt North East:

0191 643 5000

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

  • Trix – Northumberland adoption service procedures
  • First4Adoption - the national gateway with information and training materials
  • Coram BAAF (British Association of Adoption and Fostering) - an array of online facts and resources
  • New Family Social - the leading specific LGBT+ resource for adoption and fostering
  • Adoption UK - a national charity with resources, support and guidance
  • Ofsted - the government regulatory inspection body 
Official Ofsted graded good logo
Make enquiries about adopting with our regional agency, Adopt North East

0191 643 5000

If prospective parents are interested in foster to adopt, your worker will explore this with you in depth.

This is a scheme, where prospective adoptive parents would become the foster carers to a young child; where we are fairly sure that the plan for adoption will be agreed subject to granting of the placement order.  You still go through the main applicaton process for adoption and can conisder all children going forward for adoption, with the addition of considering children going forward for the foster to adopt scheme.
You don't have to be superhuman to adopt a child, people just like you have done it and want to share their experiences with you here.

Meet our families

  • Julie and Mac had older children of their own and adopted two sisters
  • Anna's son was almost five when he joined the family
  • Trish, a single mum of two children with disabilities
  • Julian and Richard were matched with a son and daughter

“We had older children in our family already but also had fertility issues in the past. An adoption support worker came out and talked to us and we worked through those feelings first before we began the process to adopt.

Our first match was with a little boy. It was a heart-breaking decision to turn him down, but we didn’t feel he was the right match for us. You are not expected to accept all children who are matched with you. If something is not right, the team encourage you to say so, as it has to be right for everyone involved.”

Within another three weeks we were offered twin girls and we knew it was right this time. They were three years old when they came to us and I exhausted myself trying to make sure everything was perfect when they first arrived. My adoption support worker was really supportive and helped me understand a little chaos and anxiety is normal for any new parent.

One morning the youngest came out of the bedroom and said ‘Mummy, can I have my breakfast?’ I jumped for joy and I was on the phone in tears, ‘she called me mum’. After the adoption went through, we’ve never looked back. To celebrate we all went to the cinema together. They hadn’t been before. I remember the girls sitting there, I looked at them and I thought ‘those girls are ours – they are our children’.

I had a great support network from Northumberland County Council and our adoption support worker throughout. Our older children have been great too - the girls were bridesmaids for our daughter when she got married. She just sees them as her sisters.”

Our son was almost five when he joined our family through adoption. When we first applied, we were considering children aged up to four years old. However, as we learned more about adoption, child development and ourselves, we felt we could parent an older child.

We did speak to other adoption agencies but, even though we live outside the county, we chose Northumberland County Council because we felt relaxed with them from the first information evening. We always felt the team was on our side and we were supported by the same social worker all the way through.

The adoption preparation training was very useful. For example, it is easy to feel that you want to buy the children lots of presents when they first arrive, to make up for the things they didn’t have before. The course taught us that, in the long term, it’s better to spend family time together, playing games and getting to know each other.

We still access training courses on different topics. There is lots of support and guidance for helping children develop throughout their life, like starting a Life Story book, adding photos and mementos – like their first visit to the seaside, or a ticket stub from a pantomime trip. The matching process also seemed really quick and handled well. The work the team do in getting to know us, and the children waiting for a family is the key.

With adoption, you are never too old and you can come to adoption to start or extend your family. However you become a parent, every child is different, so it’s pointless having a set picture of what your family will be like.

You don’t get an instruction manual as a parent, but you can rely on the friendly and experienced Northumberland team to support you every step of the way.

*name is changed for privacy purposes

Get quick answers to some frequently asked questions.

Can I adopt if:

I am over 40 or older?
Yes. We do not operate an upper age limit, but you would need to be fit and healthy enough to see a child in your care safely into adult life. The youngest age at which you can adopt is 21.

I'm not married or in a civil partnership?
Yes.  Single people can adopt a child.  Unmarried couples can also adopt, including same-gender couples.  Couples do need to have lived together for at least 18 months before starting the adoption process.

I am unemployed?
Yes.  You must be financially stable, but being unemployed is not a barrier.

I work full-time?
Yes, as long as you can provide space and time to meet the children's needs.  This is especially important when the children are young and for all children in the early stages of an adoptive placement.  Please click on the following link to find out the adoption equivalent of maternity and paternity payments and time off from work:

I don't own my home?
Yes.  You need to show you have enough room to care for a child or children, in a safe and secure environment, whether you rent or own your home.

I'm LGBT+?
Yes.  We are interested in the skills and ability you have to offer children and not your sexuality.

I have a disability and/or health problem?
Yes.  Everyone who applies to adopt will need a health assessment, as part of the approval process, to make sure they have the ability to care for a child.  If you are disabled or have a medical condition, our medical advisor will take these factors into consideration and make recommendations on an individual basis.  Our focus for children is always stability.  So anyone for example, awaiting a significant operation, undergoing treatment or counselling for serious conditions are not necessarily in a stable position for a child to join their family.

I smoke?
Yes, but you will not be able to adopt a child under five years of age, or children with respiratory problems.  We have a responsibility to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke and we have to balance the positive elements of any adoptive placement against the negative impact of smoking.  If only considering younger children, you will need to have stopped using cigarettes, vapes and e-cigarettes for 6 months before you start the process.  Of course, this does not mean that you can't talk to us in the meantime to find out more about adoption.

I have a criminal conviction?
Yes.  People who have a criminal record or have been cautioned can adopt a child.  Much depends on the seriousness of the offence, how long ago since the crime was committed and how you have lived your life since.  People with convictions for violent or sexual offences against children cannot adopt.

I already have children of my own?
Yes.  Your own children would be included in the approval process too, as they are an important part of the family decision to adopt.  In adoption, we usually advise a minimum age gap of around three years between any birth children and an adopted child.  Adopted children would be younger than your own children.  This can vary depending on the child and your family’s needs.

I don't live in Northumberland?
Yes.  We are seeking adoptive parents to help children locally, regionally and nationally. 

I don't live in the UK?
No.  You must have had a UK home as your base for at least one year before applying to adopt a British child - the term for this is habitually resident.  If part of a couple, one of you must be domiciled in the UK.  These are legal terms which imply an intention or durable residence in the UK.  This is all based around the need for stability for the children you may adopt.  If you have any further questions about your suitability to adopt, please contact us and we will be pleased to help you.

Am I capable of adopting a sibling group, rather than just one child?
More than half of the children awaiting adoption need to be placed with a loving family that could provide a home to their brother or sister also.  It is usually in the best interests of the children that a sibling group, which can be two children or more, finds a family together.  It is also beneficial for you, as they support each other, as well as their new parents when joining their new family.
You do not pay to go through the adoption process. 

Some families qualify for an adoption allowance. These are generally families that have adopted older children, sibling groups and children with disabilities.

A Department of Heath means test is carried out on the adopters’ income and is subject to annual reviews.  All local authorities provide some adoption allowances, but the policies vary between them.

After your adoption, our adoption support service can advise on monies available through the adoption support fund.
It will take about six months to become an approved adopter.