National Adoption Week 2016 kicks off on Monday 17 October with this year’s South West campaign focusing on the needs of individual children currently waiting to be adopted. Adopt South West is highlighting the fact that there are children waiting to be adopted in Devon and Somerset, and all partner agencies are looking to assess potential adopters now.
Due to changes in court practices at the start of 2016 we saw a national decline in the number of children in care who had adoption as their plan. The effects of this have been felt nationally and both local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies alike have been keen to prioritise matching children with approved adopters who had been waiting some time to adopt. This picture has changed again recently, however, as agencies have seen a rise in the number of children waiting, including very young children and babies who are being placed under Fostering for Adoption.
During National Adoption Week (17-23 October), Adopt South West – a partnership of adoption agencies across the region – including Barnardo’s, Devon County Council, Families for Children, Plymouth City Council, Somerset County Council and Torbay Council – are working together to dispel the myths surrounding who can adopt and promote the groups of children currently waiting to be adopted. Many of the children waiting to be adopted have experienced extreme trauma in their early lives. Adopt South West are keen to hear from those who feel have the commitment and strength to accept everything that a child waiting to be adopted brings with them and who would be flexible in taking advice on how to parent them differently and therapeutically.
Danielle Tweedie from Adopt South West says: “There is currently a misconception across the county that there are no children waiting for adoption, but as you can see from the statistics that just is not true. We know there are a number of adopters out there who are waiting to be matched to the right child or children for them, and a key priority of ours is to find them the children they are looking for. However, there are still children who haven’t been matched, who have needs which cannot be met by our current pool of approved adopters and who have been waiting a long time. We need to continue searching for those families who would be able to give these children a permanent home.”
Over the last few years, Government legislation has changed, making it easier for potential parents to adopt. Although there is an assessment process, it doesn’t matter if you are married or not, religious or not, living with a partner or single, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, a home owner or renter or if you have a disability – you will still be considered as a potential adopter.
Adopt South West aims to treat all parties with fairness and respect and to ensure that the opportunities offered and services provided are accessible to all potential adopters and adopted children regardless of their race, culture, ethnicity, religion, language, disability and sexuality.
Adopt South West wants potential adopters to know that:
- There are children who need a new permanent home now.
- The adoption process can prepare you for becoming an adopter within as little as six months.
- Anyone over the age of 21 can be considered as a prospective adopter and there is no upper age limit.
- LGBT and intersex people can adopt
- Single people can adopt.
- Adopters can be of any religion or none.
- Disabled people can adopt.
- There are babies and children of all ages needing to be adopted. Older children, brother and sisters (sibling groups) and children with disabilities are our priority group
- Adopters will undertake training before a child is placed.
- Adopters are supported throughout the process and beyond.
A number of information events across Devon and Somerset are being held in National Adoption Week where anyone interested can find out about the process of becoming an adopter, and the vulnerable children currently waiting. To find your nearest event, visit www.adoptsouthwest.org.uk/events
If you have ever considered adoption and want to find out more visit: www.adoptsouthwest.org.uk or call Freephone 0800 0832227.