Leeds Black Children Need Black Adopters – Adoption Week 2006

Leeds Black Children Need Black Adopters - Adoption Week 2006

Caring African Caribbean families in Leeds are being invited to experience for themselves the rewards and satisfaction of adopting or fostering a child as part of National Adoption Week.

National Adoption Week, runs from today, Monday 6 November 2006, and is organised by BAAF (British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering) – a charitable organisation which links agencies involved in adoption and fostering, offers advice and helps to find adoptive families. The aim of the week is to highlight the shortage of adopters across the country.

Adopters can be single, married, divorced, remarried, without children of their own, or already have a family. Adoptive parents come from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances – the key issue is being able to provide a permanent, stable and secure home.

Currently, there is a range of African and Caribbean and dual heritage (mixed ethnicity) children in Leeds who need adoptive parents reflecting their ethnicity and culture. However, African Caribbean and dual heritage people and families are under represented in Leeds City Council’s pool of approved adopters.

Councillor Richard Brett, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“We are looking for adopters from all different backgrounds. Whatever your situation, as long as you have a lot of patience, energy and the determination to make a real difference to a child’s life, then we want to hear from you.

“More African and Caribbean adopters would be very welcome, since it is always better, where possible, for children to be adopted within their own cultural heritage.

“Adopting a child is a life-changing and incredibly rewarding commitment. Our dedicated and experienced adoption staff in Leeds will do everything possible to make sure adopters have all the preparation, training and support they need.”

Overall, around 80 children from all ethnic backgrounds in the city need to be placed with Leeds approved adopters each year and they are mainly aged between two and seven. Leeds has the second largest metropolitan city social services department in the UK and looks after around 1,300 children and young people.

More adopters in Leeds are also urgently needed for:

· Family groups of children who need placing together
· Black and other minority ethnic children, including children of mixed ethnicity
· Single children aged three years and above.

Children placed with adopters will often have experienced disruption, insecurity, neglect and abuse. Their backgrounds and circumstances can often be quite complex.

Staff in the adoption service work very closely with adopters to prepare them for the range of behavioural, emotional and practical issues they may have to deal with. The department has recently restructured the staffing of the adoption service, improving services to adopters and their children, including the expansion of the adoption support team.

The adoption support team provide a range of extra help for Leeds adopters and their children. Experienced staff offer ongoing advice and support. There are also training and workshops on a range of issues including attachment, parental strategies and education, regular support groups for adoptive parents, an annual social event for adoptive families and a regular newsletter for adopters.

As part of the campaign, Leeds City Council is providing a community based information meeting on adopting and fostering children of black and minority ethnicity, where people and families can find out more from adoption staff, experienced adopters and foster carers. The meeting is taking place at:

‘Space’ , Hillcrest Primary School, Cowper St, Chapeltown, Leeds LS7, 6.30PM – 8.00PM, Thursday 16 November 2006.

Leeds City Council also provides regular monthly information meetings on adoption and once an interest has been registered, social services staff will make a home visit to discuss it in more detail. Police and health checks will be carried out once an application has been agreed.

For details on adopting with Leeds, including Information packs and monthly information meetings, contact (0113) 247 4747 (Office Hours), email: ss.fostering.and.adoption@leeds.gov.uk or visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/adoption.

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Name: John Donegan