The next agency to feature in our spotlight is ARC Adoption North East. They’re an “Outstanding” Independent Voluntary Adoption Agency located Sunderland, in the North East of England. In this article, they share a bit about who they are, how they’ve adapted their services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and why they’re supporting the #YouCanAdopt campaign.
For the team at ARC Adoption North East it’s a privilege to work in the adoption sector. We use our extensive knowledge and skills to increase the opportunities for children to experience a positive family life.
The team welcome prospective adopters through the adoption process and help them to feel valued and supported. Registered and rated Outstanding across all areas by Ofsted, the dedicated team of experienced, multi-disciplinary practitioners at ARC Adoption deliver a wide range of services aimed at supporting adopted children and their families. This has enabled us to be one of the most successful agencies in the North East region for recruiting families and placing children within loving and nurturing families.
Through membership of The Northern Consortium of Adoption Agencies; CoramBAAF; the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA); New Family Social and Adoption UK, we contribute to the adoption process nationally and seek continuous improvement in all that we do.
Since March 2020 the team at ARC Adoption have adapted their working practices due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has ensured that potential adopters are able to continue their journey to achieve their dream of becoming parents and finding families for those children that need them.
Ways in which working practices have adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic include the provision of online information events, online initial visits and virtual adoption and matching panels. Some face to face assessments and visits have taken place whilst adhering to current guidelines.
Director at ARC Adoption North East, Terry Fitzpatrick highlights the ways in which ARC Adoption are continuing to deliver services and encourages those who are thinking about adoption to come forward. He said;
“In line with government guidelines regarding working practices during the pandemic, we continue to operate a two-stage assessment process, the team have been working remotely and are providing online assessments and face to face visits where safe to do so.”
“The first stage can take around two months and involves medical and background checks. We also provide virtual training to help families prepare for the future. Once a decision has been made that an applicant is suitable to adopt, they move to stage two, during which a detailed assessment takes place. Stage two usually takes around four months. Once this process is complete and everyone is happy, the applicant then meets the agency adoption panel, this is also currently taking place virtually, the panel then make a recommendation as to whether they are appropriate to adopt a child. Overall, the entire adoption process can take approximately six months.”
ARC Adoption North East have joined Regional and Voluntary adoption agencies across the country, supported by the Department for Education (DfE), to launch a nationwide recruitment campaign to raise awareness of adoption. The national #YouCanAdopt campaign aims to dispel the myths around adoption and highlight the number of children in need for a loving and nurturing family.
Currently in the UK, there are almost 3,000 children in need of an adoptive family but the number of adoptions in England has fallen by a third in four years. In response, the #YouCanAdopt campaign aims to bust myths around who is eligible to adopt and explore what the adoption process involves. It is also highlighting that, especially during the COVID pandemic, there are still children out there who are looking for their new family.
Research shows that 45% of adults in the North East have considered adoption or would consider adoption in future. But, despite this, 53% of adults do not feel they know much about the adoption process. This lack of knowledge may contribute to many people not taking the important first step.
Some of the biggest misconceptions around eligibility are that single people, older people, and those who are LGBTQ+ are not allowed to adopt. This is not the case. The new data revealed that participants felt the following groups would be either ineligible to adopt or were unsure if they were eligible to adopt; over the age of 50 years old 57%, single 43%, and LGBTQ+ 22%.
To help shine a light on the diverse range of families who have and can adopt, a new emotive film has been released featuring singer Sinitta and TV vocal coaches Carrie and David Grant alongside other families who are joining in encouraging others to consider adoption. The poem the families are reciting during the film is written by writer and adoptee Joy Carter,. It brings to life the stories of each of the families: the highs, lows and realities of adoption.
In support of the national campaign which runs until December 2020, Terry said;
“There is an on-going and urgent need to find adoptive families for children who desperately need them. We are encouraging anyone who has ever thought about adoption to find out more about the adoption process and the outstanding support that is available to them at ARC Adoption North East.
Terry added, “Children who come to adoption do so because their birth families are unable to care for them. Many of them have experienced neglect and trauma. All of these children need a loving, stable home. They also need support and love to help them overcome their difficult backgrounds, make sense of who they are and grow up to be safe and secure. Being an adoptive parent can be challenging but it also brings great rewards and joy. If you think you might be able to give a vulnerable child a nurturing and loving home, please contact the team at ARC Adoption North East who would love to hear from you”.
The ARC Adoption team are hosting online information events on the first Thursday of every month, to register for the information event please click here
To find out more information about becoming a parent via adoption and the outstanding support available at ARC Adoption North East visit our website or call 0191 516 6466.