South Tyneside adoption scheme to operate within regional service

Coun Moira Smith
Coun Moira Smith

Adoption services in the North East are going regional in a bid to improve the number of children being found new homes

A brand new regional adoption agency, has officially been given the go ahead by the five local authorities supporting the new service.

Councils in South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle and Northumberland have been working on the proposals which will combine adoption services from each of the local authorities, creating a large regional body.

Adopt North East will create an exciting new service, with the needs of adopted children and families at their heart and the opportunity to provide high quality post adoption support.

Development of the new service has been ongoing for over two years - including detailed consultation with adoptive children, families and birth parents helping to shape the new service.

The results of these discussions helped identify the most valuable areas of adoption support and how the adoption process can be streamlined, both of which are key to providing high quality services.

A variety of delivery options were discussed, including creating a new standalone agency, providing the new service through voluntary agencies or a regional model with one of the five local authorities being selected as a host.

North Tyneside has been allocated as the host authority, with the new service being based at Balliol Primary School, Longbenton.

Coun Moira Smith, cabinet member for children, young people and Families at South Tyneside Council, said: “South Tyneside's adoption service has been rated as Outstanding by Ofsted and we are determined to maintain those high standards as we become part of this new regional adoption agency.

"By joining forces with Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside and Gateshead the pool of adoptive parents will be increased, meaning that matching children to suitable forever homes should become quicker and easier.”

The new service is expected to launch in December, initially working in parallel to existing local authority service during a period of transition.

The staffing and structure is still being designed and will be shaped to provide the highest quality service and to streamline the adoption journey.

Around 50 staff from across the five local authorities will join Adopt North East, bringing together an experienced workforce to drive forward the new agency. There will be no staff redundancies as part of the process.