A new hotline for families interested in adoption has been set up across Yorkshire and the Humber as regional figures showed that an estimated 900 children will require adoptive care during 2014.
The helpline, established by Being Family, will be staffed by volunteers with first-hand experience of the adoption process, allowing them to empathise with those taking the daunting first step in potentially becoming adoptive parents.
Nic Haughton, manager of Leeds-based Being Family, said: “We want potential adopters to be able to talk to qualified members who understand the process and can talk about how life changing it is.
“Our aim is to make the early stages of becoming an adopter much more integrated, so ultimately we increase the number of adopters in the Yorkshire and Humber region. This sharing of information can directly benefit children and families in Bradford.
“We have a significant shortfall of adoptive families available every year, while the number of new children looking for adoptive families continues to grow.”
Department for Education figures show there were approximately 6,600 children awaiting adoption across the UK. In the Bradford district, there are 57 children placed in adoptive homes, with a further 80 awaiting adoption. There are also up to 20 approved families who are in the process of being matched with a child.
A Bradford Council spokesman said there was no waiting list for families interested in adoption, as inquiries, which could now come in via the new helpline, are processed immediately.
“It is very important to us and the children in our care that we have more families to adopt, as this means there is more choice to match the children with the most suitable family,” he said.
“The ‘Being Family’ helpline gives potential adopters a real insight into adoption and the adoption process, resulting in people coming to us having a good understanding of what is involved.
“Being Family involves all the agencies in Yorkshire and Humberside coming together to shares resources and knowledge. Supporting this enables us to cover a wide geographical area, so we can reach out to families who live outside of the Bradford district, as well as those that live here.”
The confidential helpline, on 0300 222 5934, is run from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Advisers will be available to talk to potential adopters about the process and share experiences on how rewarding the role can be.
They will also dispel any well-trodden myths associated with adoptive care, including incorrect assumptions that applicants need to be homeowners or in full-time employment, aged under 40, married, or already a parent.
For more information call (01274) 434331.