Adoption figures in North East show record number of children adopted

Adoptions across the region increased from 290 in the previous year to 390 children, the Department for Education figures show

Mark Haillay (floral shirt) and Owen Joiner are a same sex couple who adopted in 2011
Mark Haillay (floral shirt) and Owen Joiner are a same sex couple who adopted in 2011

A record number of children were adopted in the North East in 2013-14, according to official figures.

Adoptions across the region increased from 290 children in the previous year to 390, Department for Education (DfE) figures show.

In Gateshead the number of looked after children adopted leapt from 15 in 2013 to 35, while there was an increase of 25 looked after children adopted in Newcastle in 2014, up from 35 the previous year.

And in Durham, adoptions across the county shot up in 2014 to 75 from 40 the previous year.

In Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland the figures remained the same.

Gateshead Council says the latest announcement acts as proof that its reforms are ensuring children are placed faster with their new families.

Coun Angela Douglas, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We are committed to achieving the best outcomes for our children and young people and we know that for some children the best way to achieve this is through providing new forever families.

“We are delighted with the increase in the number of children adopted and this is as a result of the changes we have made to meet the government’s reforms.

“Gateshead has worked constructively towards reducing the time scales for assessment.”

Newcastle City Council’s adoption service manager, Deborah Anderson, said the Government’s adoption system reform has helped make the process much smoother, but more needed to be done to ensure older children found their “forever family”.

She said: “We are delighted that we have been able to find loving homes for many of the children we had waiting but we always need more people to come forward, especially potential adopters for children over three years, children with complex emotional or health needs and for sibling groups.”

Mark Haillay and Owen Joiner, who live in Washington, adopted Anthony when he was 14 months old, in 2011.

Like many couples, they were apprehensive at first, but three years later, the family is thriving.

Mark said: “In 2010, Owen and I began our adoption journey with a tentative phone call.

“Anthony is now in his second year at nursery and he’s loving it. We’re now looking towards adopting another child so Anthony can have a little brother or sister.”

The DfE says the figures are a direct result of government action to reform the adoption system.

Secretary of state for education Nicky Morgan said: “Today’s figures show a significant and sustained rise in the number of adoptions.

“This means more of our most vulnerable of children in the North East finding the loving and permanent homes they so desperately need.

“We also promised to remove delay and frustration from the process for both children and adopters.

“The system is working more quickly, as well as providing more support to families after an adoption has taken place.”

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