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New adoption campaign in Yorkshire

Being Family: staff talk to potential adopters in Leeds today

The region's first official Adoption Day was launched today - with an unusual campaign.

Yorkshire and the Humber’s Adoption Consortium - supported by local councils, set up a pop-up "living room" at the White Rose Centre in Leeds, hoping to attract prospective parents.

The project is called "Being Family", and the aim is to find homes for around 850 children who need them in the area.

A 30 second TV advert will also run on ITV Yorkshire.

Nic Haughton, Manager at the Yorkshire and Humber Adoption Consortium, said: “The aim of the new Yorkshire and Humber Adoption Day is to encourage more potential adopters to come forward. Our unique advertising campaign is designed to maximise awareness of our Being Family initiative.

"We want to bust some of the myths about adoption, about age, marital status and income levels. We want people to think “maybe I could do that” rather than rule themselves out."

“We have over 850 children from the Yorkshire and Humber region waiting to be matched with approved adopters right now and the numbers are growing, Please do visit our ‘pop-up’ road shows."

Carrie Hughes, an adopter from Leeds, added: “We decided to adopt after I suffered several miscarriages.

"I can’t put into words how rewarding adopting our child has been for us. You are giving a child a good home and a happy life with loving parents."

Find out more at www.beingfamily.co.uk or contact 0300 222 5934.

New interactive map to encourage adoptive parents

Potential adoptive parents have been urged to use new maps to help match them up more quickly

Potential adoptive parents have been urged by a minister to use new maps to help match them up more quickly with the 6,000 children in need of a home.

The online system includes information for each local council area, such as the ratio of children in need to waiting adopters, approval rates and the time taken to make matches.

First published earlier this year to encourage people to look beyond their own areas, they have now been made interactive.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said "promising progress" was being made towards improving adoption rates but significantly more remained to be done.

An extra £50 million would be provided to local councils to improve services, he said.

"This Christmas I want anyone considering adoption to look carefully at the information in our interactive maps and consider whether they can offer a child a stable and loving home.

"There remains significant work to do next year. Our new adoption leadership board will play an important role ensuring local authorities and adoption agencies stay on track and recruit more adopters."

Earlier this year Calderdale Council said it had cut the average time to arrange an adoption from 18 months to six.

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Adoption information event in Leeds

People who are interested in finding out more about adopting a child in Leeds are being invited to an information hub today. Leeds City Council is holding the drop-in event at The Light between 10am and 3pm.

The Council is particularly in need of adopters who can give a home to brothers and sisters, children of mixed heritage, children with disabilities, babies from birth and very young children who may have future development needs.

Adopting a child or children is a rewarding, challenging and unique experience and one that is open to all. What we want to underline is that anyone can adopt, there is often a misconception that only certain groups of people can apply. This couldn't be further from the truth, what we need are people who have the commitment to make a real difference to a vulnerable child's life.

We need all kinds of people to be adopters, and are looking for people with a range of different skills and experience. Please don't rule yourself out, come and talk to our adoption team - there might be a child in care who you would be the perfect adoptive parent for."

– Cllr Judith Blake

Leeds-based catholic charity might close adoption services over ban on refusing same-sex couples

A Roman Catholic charity said it might close its adoption services after a tribunal ruled that it cannot refuse to help gay couples adopt. The charity says the regulations clash with Roman Catholic doctrine.

Catholic Care, the care agency for the Diocese of Leeds, has already been told by the Charity Commission it cannot opt out of equality laws that force it to offer adoption services to homosexuals.

It had asked the Charity Commission for permission to amend its constitution so it could lawfully decline the services to same-sex couples. But the commission refused and the charity unsuccessfully appealed against the decision made at a charity tribunal last year.

"Without the constitutional restriction for which it applied, Catholic Care will be forced to close its adoption service. In doing so, it will be joining many other faith-based adoption services that have been forced to close since 2008. The reason for this is that the services permitted by the current constitution are in conflict with the aims of the charity. It is Catholic Care's view that this will reduce the number of adoptive parents available and the number of children left waiting for adoptive parents will continue to increase."

– Catholic Care

"The charity had failed to show that there were sufficiently weighty reasons to justify the discrimination it proposed to engage in. The fact that same-sex couples could seek to have access to adoption services offered elsewhere tended to reduce somewhat the immediate detrimental effect on them, but it did not remove the harm that would be caused to them through feeling that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation was practised at some point in the adoption system."

– Mr Justice Sales

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