Those looking to adopt in Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland from 1st April 2021 will benefit from a quicker process thanks to the launch of a new Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) spanning the regions.
Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children which delivers services on behalf of Sunderland City Council, have joined forces to launch a RAA known as Adopt Coast to Coast.
The Adopt Coast to Coast partnership means that the three local authorities can more readily work together to speed up the adoption process for prospective adopters and find the best match for the babies and children in their care. Adopt Coast to Coast will be responsible for supporting the services provided by each partner and for the recruitment of prospective adopters.
Adopt Coast to Coast’s potential adopters benefit from being considered for babies and children across the three geographical areas rather than a single local authority area, which in-turn speeds up the adoption process. By sharing resources and knowledge the service can also offer prospective adopters greater support and a more responsive service both during the adoption process and once a new family is formed.
Paula Gibbons (pictured) Head of Service for Adopt Coast to Coast said: “There has been a lot of careful planning and coordination over the last four years to bring Adopt Coast to Coast to launch and I am delighted to be able to work alongside all three local authority partners to place children and babies with loving and caring families across Cumbria, County Durham and Sunderland.
“As the final Regional Adoption Agency to launch in England we are benefitting from the learning of others, and as our partners all have good Ofsted ratings, we already have a solid foundation to build upon.
“Many people have faced uncertainly during the Covid-19 pandemic and have had more time to reflect than ever before so this is an ideal time to consider whether adoption might be a way to add to or start a family. There are still a lot of misconceptions about how long the adoption process takes and who is eligible to adopt, so for us Adopt Coast to Coast has come at an ideal time to support those looking to start their adoption journey.”
Adopt Coast to Coast is the only RAA to stretch the breadth of England and has been launched under the Department for Education’s Regionalising Adoption Programme which encourages all local authorities to regionalise their adoption services and consider alternative delivery models in order to tackle the UK-wide decline in the number of adopters being approved*.
*Findings from the Department of Education. Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019