Northumberland County Council has launched a new integrated adoption and fostering family placement service, alongside the latest campaign to attract more people to come forward to adopt or foster.
The new service and campaign was formally launched by Northumberland County Councillor Robert Arckless, at the new family placement service offices in Ashington on Thursday.
Paul Moffat, corporate director of children’s service said: “The launch celebrates the formation of the new Family Placement Service at a time of increased need.
“The new service joins together the adoption and fostering services to focus on recruiting and supporting more adopters and foster carers willing to ‘count themselves in’ to change the lives of the most vulnerable Northumberland children.
“The new offices are part of the county council’s wider strategy to reduce office space and costs and to create more efficient working environments.”
The launch also celebrated the new myth busting adoption and fostering websites.
The service is encouraging people to visit the new web pages to dispel the myths surrounding adoption and fostering.
People will often not make that first phone call because they think, for example, they are too old, or that single people or families with older children can’t come forward.
With the new campaign, the service is urging people to ‘Count yourself in! Change lives’.
Following work on the new websites; banners and other promotions are being rolled out over the next few months to help raise awareness that Northumberland County Council needs new parents and carers now for children and young people.
Councillor Robert Arckless, policy board member responsible for children’s services said: “Nationally and locally, we have more children and young people needing adoptive and foster families than in recent years.
“People can help to reduce this shortage by coming forward now for adoption or fostering. There are different types of fostering to suit different households, and adoption is not solely for people who do not have children.
“Our adoptive parents and foster carers give much needed life chances to children of all ages, from babies and their early development to supporting teenagers to learn independent living skills.
“For our children who are waiting to be adopted, we urge people who want to start or expand their family to come forward now. The application process to become a parent takes about six months, and matches between children and families are happening a lot quicker than even a year or two back; many within weeks of becoming approved adoptive parents.
“For children who need short or long term foster carers, people considering foster care are often surprised to learn that, with Northumberland, you receive a guaranteed fee payment every week; even if a child is not staying with you.
“It is one of the most supported child care roles you can offer, where on-going training helps build child care skills. There are a raft of supporting services to enable carers to help children with their relationships, education and general life aspirations. With fostering, the application process takes around eight months.
“We are keen to hear from people, across the North East and also into the Scottish Borders, who can offer a loving stable environment.”
For more information and to speak to someone from the family placement service call 01670 626262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.northumberland.go.uk and search children and families.