Adoption has changed
In Yorkshire and Humber adoption services are now being delivered on a regional basis.
This means that Local Authorities are no longer individually providing adoption services. They have combined to form a larger, more effective regional adoption agency.
This new way of delivering adoption services offers improved outcomes for both children and those who want to adopt.
Working regionally will allow children to be placed in a more timely way. It will improve the adoption and therapeutic support offer. It will also enable us to share best-practice and develop our services more effectively.
You can now access adoption services by visiting: One Adoption , or by phoning: 0113 378 3535.
Are you interested in adoption?
For detailed information on:
- who can adopt;
- the adoption process;
- details of the children needing adoption; and
- how you will be supported;
One Adoption West Yorkshire will be holding a number of information events across the West Yorkshire region. Events start at 6.30pm on Tuesday and 10.30am on Saturdays.
You may come to any event you choose, as the information shared at each event is the same. You do not need to book on an event, so please feel free to just turn up.
We hope to see you at one of the forthcoming Adoption information events:
Information event dates and venues
|April 4th (Tuesday)||Hudawi Cultural Centre, Great Northern Street, Huddersfield. HD1 6BG.|
|April 25th (Tuesday)||Kernel House, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds. West Yorkshire. LS14 6UF.|
|May 9th (Tuesday)||The Imperial Crown Hotel, 42-46 Horton St, Halifax. HX1 1QE.|
|May 23rd (Tuesday)||The Thornbury Centre, 79 Leeds Old Rd, Bradford. BD3 8JX.|
|June 6th (Tuesday)||Leeds Civic Hall, Calverley St, Leeds. LS1 1UR.|
|June 20th (Tuesday)||Premier Inn, Castleford Xscape, Colarado Way, Castleford. WF10 4TA.|
|July 4th (Tuesday)||Hudawi Cultural Centre, Great Northern Street. Huddersfield. HD1 6BG.|
|July 25th (Tuesday)||Kernel House, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds. West Yorkshire. LS14 6UF.|
|Aug 8th (Tuesday)||The Imperial Crown Hotel, 42 - 46 Horton St, Halifax. HX1 1QE.|
|Aug 22nd (Tuesday)||The Thornbury Centre, 79 Leeds Old Rd, Bradford. BD3 8JX.|
|Sept 12th (Tuesday)||Leeds Civic Hall, Calverley St, Leeds. LS1 1UR.|
|Sept 26th (Tuesday)||Premier Inn, Castleford Xscape, Colarado Way, Castleford. WF10 4TA.|
|Oct 10th (Tuesday)||Kernel House, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds. West Yorkshire. LS14 6UF.|
|Oct 24 (Tuesday)||Hudawi Cultural Centre, Great Northern Street, Huddersfield. HD1 6BG.|
|Nov 7th (Tuesday)||The Imperial Crown Hotel, 42 - 46 Horton St, Halifax. HX1 1QE.|
|Nov 21st (Tuesday)||The Thornbury Centre, 79 Leeds Old Rd, Bradford. BD3 8JX.|
|Dec 5th (Tuesday)||Leeds Civic Hall, Calverley St, Leeds. LS1 1UR.|
|Jan 9th 2018 (Tuesday)||Premier Inn, Castleford Xscape, Colarado Way, Castleford. WF10 4TA.|
|Jan 23rd 2018 (Tuesday)||Hudawi Cultural Centre, Great Northern Street, Huddersfield. HD1 6BG.|
|Feb 6th 2018 (Tuesday)||Kernel House, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds. West Yorkshire. LS14 6UF.|
|Feb 20th 2018 (Tuesday)||The Imperial Crown Hotel, 42 - 46 Horton St, Halifax. HX1 1QE.|
|March 6th 2018 (Tuesday)||The Thornbury Centre, 79 Leeds Old Rd, Bradford. BD3 8JX.|
|March 24th 2018 (Saturday)||Leeds Civic Hall, Calverley St, Leeds. LS1 1UR.|
Could I adopt?
Far more people than you might think can adopt. We do not discriminate on the grounds of class, race, culture, sexual orientation or disability. Because there are so many people who can make excellent parents you should assume you will be considered.
The skills we look for in prospective adopters
We are not looking for perfect parents who have not experienced any difficulties in life. In fact, we realise that people who have faced problems and worked through them are often stronger for the experience.
We need adopters who can:
- commit to providing a child with a safe, stable, secure and loving home into adulthood;
- take responsibility for the child – but also ask for support if needed;
- talk with children about adoption and continue to share information with them about their histories throughout their childhood;
- be sensitive to the child’s identity needs and any specific needs about culture and ethnicity;
- understand how it feels for a child to grow up in an adoptive family and how this may affect behaviour;
- accept and respect a child’s history;
- deal with change and think in a flexible way;
- manage and resolve conflict;
- maintain a sense of humour!
Criteria for adoptive parents
Calderdale Adoption Agency recognises adoptive parents as a valuable resource. We make every effort to find safe, secure adoptive homes for children which reflect their birth heritage and will meet their needs into adulthood. But children will not be left waiting indefinitely for a 'perfect' family that will meet all their needs.
We seek adopters from a range of backgrounds who can best meet a child's individual needs.
- Most children who need adoption are aged 2 years or older. We are particularly seeking adopters who can consider a child over the age of 2 years, a sibling group or a child with developmental uncertainty or a disability.
- Applicants must be over 21 years of age and mature enough to meet the demands of being a parent. There is no set upper age limit but applicants must be reasonably healthy and expect to stay fit enough to parent and be responsible for a child into adult life. We will consider the benefits of experience and maturity, alongside possible adverse effects of a large age gap when matching a child with prospective adopters.
- Applicants can be single, in a same gender partnership, married, civil partnered, living together or widowed. To be considered as potential adopters, applicants who are couples must be able to demonstrate stability and commitment. Couples need to have lived together for at least 2 years before considering adoption.
- Applicants may be childless, have birth, adopters or step children, or may have adult children who have left home. If there are already children in the household, we will take into account the effect on the whole family. If applicants have a child living with them, we recommend a gap of at least two years with the children already in the family being the eldest.
- Applicants must have finished fertility treatment / investigations into fertility at least 6 months prior to us taking up your application. Experience suggests that people usually will need this time to come to terms and adapt to their new situation before they are ready to progress their interest in adoption.
- Applicants who have experienced a bereavement of a close family member, for example a parent, partner or child, or if you have lost a baby during pregnancy, regardless of how long ago, we will need to consider if the time is right for you to proceed.
- Applicants can rent or own their own home. It is important that you have the physical space to parent a child. You will need to consider bedroom space, room for play and for privacy.
- If anyone in the household smokes, we will not normally place a child under the age of 5 years old or a child of any age with a medical condition that affects their heart and lung functions. This is in line with health guidance issued by the CoramBAAf (BAAF).
- All applicants must be subject to a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. There are some offences and cautions which automatically bar you from adoption, for instance, domestic or sexual violence or any cautions or convictions against children. Checks required for adoption reveal ‘soft’ information and any history of surveillance as well as ‘spent’ convictions and cautions. Where any checks are unsatisfactory it will not be possible to proceed with the application. In these cases we are only permitted to disclose the specific reason to the person who has the conviction or caution.
- People who do not have a permanent residence in the UK cannot have an Adoption Order made in their favour in an English Court.
- The physical and mental health of prospective applicants is an important consideration, both in terms of life expectancy and having the energy to parent an adopted child who may be challenging. We will take guidance from the applicant's own GP and our Agency Medical Adviser.
Route to adoption
The route to adoption is changing and becoming more regional. This takes place on 1st April 2017, when we become the One Adoption Agency. The change means you can choose the most convenient information event for you to attend.
Step 1. Information Event
Drop in to an information event, details of these are further down this webpage. You can choose an information event held in any of the One Adoption Agency locations. Choose the event that is the most convenient for you to attend. There are locations in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale or Kirklees. At the information event, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the adoption and assessment process. You can ask any questions you may have around adoption and you will have the chance to speak to adoption social workers and experienced adopters.
Step 2. Home Visit Request
If, following the Information Event, you would like to go one step further you will be invited to complete a ‘Home Visit Request Form’. You will need to return the form to One Adoption Agency in Leeds who are the host agency. An adoption social worker will then contact you to arrange an Information and Counselling Visit (ICV) at your home.
Step 3. Registration of Interest
A decision will be made after the information and counselling visit whether the social worker feels we are able to continue with your application to become an approved adopter. If you are to proceed with the process you will be given a Registration of Interest form. On receipt of the completed Registration of Interest form the Adoption Team Manager will make a decision within 5 days about accepting your Registration.
Step 4. Stage One Pre-Assessment
Once we have accepted your Registration of Interest you will be allocated a social worker from the Team who will work alongside you and guide you through the pre-assessment process. This should normally take no longer than two months. During this time we will take up police and other checks and references. We will also ask you to attend for a medical with your GP. You will have a ‘Stage One Agreement’ with your worker and you will be advised about further learning and will need to attend our Preparation Training sessions.
Step 5. Adoption Assessment
At the end of Stage 1 you will need to notify us if you wish to proceed to be assessed as a prospective Adopter.
Step 6. Stage 2 Assessment
Stage 2 should take four months up to the Agency Decision Maker reaching a decision that you are suitable to adopt. You will complete Preparation Training during this period and your worker will complete a detailed Prospective Adopter Report that will be presented to the Adoption Panel.
Step 7. Adoption Panel
Once completed, your Social Worker will present the assessment report to the Adoption Panel, with a recommendation about your suitability to adopt. If during the assessment you wish to withdraw your application you should notify the Team Manager in writing.
Occasionally, concerns may arise during the assessment and the Agency may feel unable to continue. If this happens, we will discuss this with you and the options that are available. These include your agreement to withdraw, or to proceed to the Panel with a negative recommendation and the possibility of you asking for your case to be referred to the 'Independent Review Mechanism'.
You will be invited to attend the Panel which will reach a recommendation about your suitability to adopt and may give advice about the number and ages of child/ren they feel that the applicants are most suitable to adopt.
Remember, 94% of applicants presented to Panel are approved as prospective adopters.
The Agency Decision Maker makes the decision on whether to approve the applicants as suitable to adopt, or not. If the Applicants are not approved they have the right to submit any representations they wish to the Agency, or be referred to the Independent Review Mechanism.
Step 8. Matching you to a child
Once you are approved, your Adoption Social Worker will start the process of matching you to a child or children.
No application is ever the same. However, the national guidelines state that Agencies should aim to present an assessment to the Adoption Panel within 4 months of proceeding to Stage 2.
Support for adoptees and families
In Calderdale there is a strong support network for birth relatives, adoptive families and adults who have been adopted.
This support takes the form of advice and counselling, buddying with other adoptive families and special medical services.
By assessing your needs we can link you up with other agencies to provide support advice and counselling and help you access your birth and adoption records.
Support for adoptive families
- A support guide for adopters: Adoption Support Passport [PDF 254KB]
- Advice, information and guidance on all aspects of adoption including talking to children about adoption;
- Signposting to other services and support;
- Training, workshops and social events;
- Advice on contact and Letterbox issues;
- Adoption support assessments;
- Adoption Support Fund (ASF) Application: Mott MacDonald: Adoption Support Fund
- Celebration, information and training events;
- Regular newsletters;
- Adoption support groups and individual support;
- Information about you entitlements and financial support / other services available.
Support for adult adopted people
Normally accessed through our partner agency PAC-UK:
- advice, information and guidance on all aspects of adoption;
- support in accessing adoption records;
- advice and support for those considering the possibility of contact;
- assistance in making contact with birth relatives; and
- intermediary services to provide support with the reunions.
External support groups
A self-help group for adoptive parents and those considering adoption in the UK.
After Adoption provides information, support and advice to all those affected by adoption.
PAC - UK
PAC-UK supports anyone whose lives have been touched by adoption - adopted people, birth families or adoptive families can all be offered help.
For those concerned with adoption, fostering and child care.
What our adopters say
Note: We have changed the names in this case study. Protecting the privacy of the children concerned is one of our top priorities.
Julie and Sue’s story
For us as a same sex couple, adoption was our first choice when it came to thinking about starting a family. We had been together for over 5 years and had recently got married. We arranged to attend an Adoption Information Evening at Calderdale to find out what would be involved and how to start the process.
The adoption landscape has changed in recent years and after approval as adopters, we were searching for a match for over 12 months before we decided to explore EPP. This is when a child, who cannot stay with their birth parents, is fostered, which may progress to adoption. This meant that we fostered our little girl to begin with and first met her at the hospital when she was one day old. She has lived with us from that day and we have gone through all the stages that are involved, including fostering and then finally adoption.
Fostering for us meant that Emily had contact with her birth parents twice a week. This contact continued until the Court granted a Placement Order, as they decided that adoption was the best outcome for Emily. EPP focuses on the best interests of the child. Therefore, even though it was at times stressful and worrying for us as a couple, we focused on what was best for Emily.
We feel that EPP was the best option for Emily and for us as adopters. For Emily it has meant that she will never have to move from one foster carer to another and then finally to her adoptive family. We have shared her early days, so will be in a strong position to answer many questions that she will have when she gets older. We have met her birth parents, so we can talk to her about them when she is ready to talk about her story.
Going through EPP has been hard at times, but the support offered from Calderdale helped us manage the process every step of the way. It is by no means an easy journey, we had to think about the possible outcomes and how this could affect us as a couple and as individuals. Support from friends and family is essential and their understanding helps when going through the placement.
Now we have adopted Emily we are looking forward to settling in as a family and watching Emily develop as a happy little girl.
We would recommend that anyone considering adoption to look at the option of EPP and see if it is a route that they could follow.
For further on EPP or adoption, please contact the adoption team by phone: 01422 266003.
Interested in adoption?
Come along to a ONE Adoption Agency regular information evening at either:
- The Shay Stadium, Shaw Hill, Halifax HX1 2YT;
- Kernel House, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds LS14 6UF;
- Civic Hall on Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 1UR;
- Margaret McMillan Tower, Princes Way, Bradford, BD1 1NN;
- Town Hall, Wood Street, Wakefield WF1 2HQ; or
- Hudawi Cultural Centre, Great Northern Street, Huddersfield HD1 6BG
Which children need adoption in 2017?
Children needing adoption:
- children over 2 years old;
- sibling groups of two or more children;
- children with learning and or health needs;
- small number of children from dual heritage backgrounds;
- Early Permanence Planning.
If you wish to be considered for children outside of the above categories, then we still warmly welcome you at information evenings.
Most of the children have:
- not had the best start in life;
- been subjected to neglect and abuse;
- lived in a family with friction and sometimes violence;
- had several changes of carer;
- feelings of insecurity, anger and rejection about their past;
- some behavioural and developmental difficulties as a result of their experiences;
- been placed under a Care Order by the Courts and been made subject to a Placement Order by the Courts.
What is adoption like?
Raising a child who has experienced a difficult start in life can be hard work, full of challenges and sometimes disappointments but there will also be great rewards and satisfaction.
- Adopters will be given help and guidance from the Adoption Team to settle the child into their family and overcome their past experiences.
- Adopters may need assistance from professionals in education and health to help them be the best they can be.
- Problems may surface at times but most children make good progress in their adoptive families.
All adopted children need to have information about their birth families and some will have ongoing contact (often through an annual exchange of letters) with their birth family and previous carers. Talking about an adopted child’s past including their birth family with openness, honesty and sensitivity will help them thrive and flourish.
Early Permanence Planning (EPP)
The care system can be the start of a disruptive and difficult journey for babies and young children.
They may move from foster carer to foster carer while the courts reach a decision about their long-term future. Most babies and young children who are adopted have to manage several changes of carer and broken attachments before they are adopted which results in long term emotional insecurity.
Early permanence planning is a child centred adoption process whereby we aim to avoid that and instead give a baby the best chance of a settled and secure life. This is called fostering to adopt and we achieve this early permanence by approving adopters to become foster carers to take a younger child whilst the court makes a decision about whether a child can safely return to their birth family.
We are careful which children we consider suitable for this type of adoption and we have to be confident that adoption is the likely outcome for the child due to a range of factors within the birth family.
If the court agrees that the child should be adopted and the adoption agency approves the ‘match’ between the carers as adopters and the child, then the placement becomes an adoption placement.
The advantages of fostering to adopt for children are:
- it minimises delay in the placement of a child as they are placed with carers who may become their adopters, giving permanence at an early stage;
- it avoids the damage caused ending temporary foster care relationships which they will have experienced as their primary parenting relationship;
- it allows the early months and years of the child’s life to be what most children need and expect.
For the prospective adopter there are a number of things to think about:
- as a foster carer you are caring for the child under the direct supervision of the Local Authority, so you would need to consider whether this is something you would be comfortable with;
- it is highly likely that you would go on to adopt the child, but need to think about the possibility of the court not agreeing the adoption plan and the child leaving your care. If you go on to adopt the child you have cared for, you will be in a very special position. You will have helped your child through the early, unsettling months when plans are still uncertain and got to know and love them from a very young age;
- you will also have much more recent information about birth parents and in certain cases may have met them during handover contact sessions during proceedings.
There is also another route to early permanence called Concurrent Planning
It is similar to fostering to adopt, in that the concurrent carers perform the role of foster carers while the courts decide whether, or not, a child can return to its birth family. The difference between fostering to adopt and concurrent carers is that, concurrent carers are willing to deal with a greater level of uncertainty in terms of the final court decision and will need to support the birth family’s efforts to regain the care for their child.
Calderdale Council is not currently offering concurrent planning through its own approved adopters, but local voluntary adoption agencies: Adoption Matters North West, Caritas Care and Barnardos are continuing to develop this alternative route for children.
To see the customer care standards, produced by First4Adoption, that we adhere to, visit: First4adoption Customer Care Standards .
If you would like to talk to someone about adoption before attending one of our events, phone: 01422 256053. Ask to be put through to Adoption Duty.
- Username Adoption Team
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone 01422 256053
Calderdale & Young People's Care Services