A MAP showing adoption “hotspots” aims to help people hoping to give children a loving home.
The map, launched yesterday by the Department for Education, shows the number of children waiting to be adopted broken down by local authority area.
It shows Northumberland and Gateshead have the fewest children, while County Durham – the region’s largest local authority – has the most with at least 48.
Newcastle and Sunderland are shown to have between 28 and 47 children waiting, while South and North Tyneside each have between 18 and 27.
The map has not been published as a judgement on local authority performance, but as a tool to help families or individuals considering becoming adoptive parents.
It coincides with the launch of a new helpline – 0300 222 0022 – set up to help potential adopters through the often lengthy application process.
Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minster, said: “We are providing potential adopters with the tools they need to find children who need adopting right across the country.
“These new tools will give many more people support in taking the first steps to adopting a child and giving them the chance to succeed in life.”
The information line, operated by First4Adoption, is funded by the Department for Education and will allow all prospective adopters to access information and advice.
Lauren and Ian Robson from Blyth, Northumberland, have been through the adoption process twice and have welcomed two boys and one girl into their home.
The couple discussed adoption soon after the birth of their son, Daniel, in 2001.
Mrs Robson, 37, said: “Figures like this can be a little misleading because they don’t tell you anything about the children’s circumstances or history. However, I can see how the map could be helpful to those who are considering adopting, as it will show the areas most in need, and the helpline may be useful for those at the start of the process.
“You are always advised to look outside your own local authority area, which is why we applied through North Tyneside both times.
“We had a very positive experience. The local authority was very helpful and we were able to talk to people who had been through the process themselves.”
Jessica Cowan, adoption team manager for Durham County Council, added: “Sometimes when people think about adoption they have a particular idea of what an adoptive family looks like, but that’s not the case. All children are different and we need different families to care for them. You could be single, married or in a civil partnership and your ethnicity makes no difference. We have many children waiting to become part of a loving family and yours might be the right one to give them the love, security and nurturing.
“If you are thinking of offering a permanent home for a child, either though adoption or fostering we would urge you to come and talk to us to find out more.”
Log on to www.education.gov.uk.