New team to improve support for adopted children in North East and North Cumbria

Thursday 2 February 2023

New team to improve support for adopted children in North East and North Cumbria

Families with adopted children will have access to earlier support thanks to a new team announced today.

Three adoption agencies - Adopt North East, Adopt Coast to Coast and Adoption Tees Valley - have linked with NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) to secure funding for the new specialist team.

Almost £1 million in Department for Education funding will support a range of services for adopted children, young people, and their families and it will strengthen links with local health services.

Sadly, children may have suffered abuse or neglect before their adoption, and this can impact their education, friendships, and family life. The new team will work to speed up support assessments, with social workers, psychologists and other specialists working together to deliver an understanding of the support a child and their family may need.

The whole project is designed to reduce the impact of problems on children, by addressing them quicker and stopping them from escalating. It’ll do this by allowing families to access support earlier than they’d otherwise be able to.

Pete and his partner Chris adopted two children through Adoption Tees Valley, both of their children have additional needs and speaking of the announcement, Pete said: “Adopting our children has been an incredible journey and life changing for all four of us. The support we’ve received from Adoption Tees Valley has been valuable and has helped us enormously as a family. This additional funding and strengthening of early support for adoptive families is a welcome step forward, support that is available quickly, without huge delay is key to making sure adopted children can thrive and have the best start in life possible.”

Nik Flavell, Senior Manager for Adopt North East, has welcomed the funding, saying: “All three adoption agencies know that some families wait too long to get the support they need. The funding we’ve obtained means we can make a real difference in their lives.

“We’re committed to improving the support we provide and reducing delay and this will help us deliver the right help at the right time. It’ll make a significant contribution to strengthening the support available to adopted children, young people and families in the region.”

As part of the Government’s national adoption strategy: Achieving excellence everywhere, Regional Adoption Agencies were invited to apply for funding for projects to improve the support available in adoption and to strengthen links with health services.

David Purdue, Executive Chief Nurse at NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: "Adoptive families make a huge contribution to the lives of children who often have a range of complex needs. From psychological support to help with speech and language, this new team can help with school, health and social care to ensure our most vulnerable children have the best possible start in life."

The team will include three social workers, two clinical psychologists and two occupational/speech and language therapists as well as a service manager. It will work with children between 4 and 11 years of age and their families who request adoption support with behaviours which may be indicative of neurodiversity, attachment and trauma issues and have resulted in difficulties in education, peer relations and the adoptive home and which, without intervention, are likely to escalate in severity and complexity.