Adoption Tees Valley is a regional adoption agency covering the North East of England.
We launched in May 2018 and replace the five local authority agencies of Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland and Darlington.
We are responsible for finding loving families for vulnerable children in the Tees Valley who for many reasons are unable to live with their birth family.
Our team are experienced, friendly and approachable, we treat every enquiry on an individual basis and we welcome diversity. We realise that embarking on the adoption process is daunting and we’ll do our best to guide you and treat you with respect and sensitivity. We’ll work with you to get to know you and your family so that we can ensure we meet your needs and the needs of the child you are adopting.
Please see below for information as to how the adoption process works. Alternatively, please visit our website.
- We’re an adoption community and we’ll make you feel at home. We pride ourselves on our friendly, welcoming and approachable service.
- We place the children of Teesside directly with our adopters meaning you’ll be our first consideration when matching our children.
- We have the expertise of 5 Local Authorities under one roof.
- We provide outstanding lifelong adoption support including adopter groups, family events, training and therapeutic support.
- Our services are completely free of charge.
Initial enquiry and initial visit
When you initially contact us we'll have a chat with you about the adoption process and tell you a bit more about the children who need permanent families. We'll give you lots of information, answer your questions and send you our information pack. We'll also arrange to visit you in your home for further discussions.
Stage 1 - Registration and checks
After registering your interest with us you will move into stage 1 which is all about getting to know you further. We'll allocate you a social worker who will take you through the process. At this stage we will follow up your reference and checks and you'll arrange an adoption medical with your GP. Stage one usually takes 2 months.
You’ll be invited to attend our preparation training which we run in groups throughout the year. You'll meet other people going through the adoption process and learn more about the process and the children as well as child development and the best ways to support adopted children. You'll also meet people who have already adopted and a birth mum and hear about their experiences.
When we have completed your checks and references you have up to six months decide whether you want to continue to stage two. Stage two takes four months to complete. You’ll work with your social worker to complete your assessment. We provide further training to prepare you for adoptive parenting and suggest books and programmes you should look at. Your social worker will complete a report and work with you to decide the types of children you would be suited for.
Your assessment report and information about your reference checks is presented to the ATV Adoption Panel. This panel is a group of people who know about adoption and about the children who need new families. It also includes our medical advisor who looks at your medical report. You’ll attend the Adoption Panel with your social worker. The panel makes a recommendation about approving you as suitable to adopt. The decision about your approval is then made by the Agency Decision Maker.
Finding your Child(ren)
ATV works with social workers from the 5 Tees Valley Local Authorities who are finding new families for children with a placement order. As soon as you're approved as an adopter the family finding process begins. We'll work closely with you and the children’s social workers to find the right child or children for you.
Supporting your family
All new families need help and support as they adjust to their life together. Your social worker will visit you regularly to offer support and advice for as long as you need it. We hold regular training, workshops and social events where you can meet other adopters and their children. We're always happy to hear from adoptive families and provide support whenever it's needed.
From the minute you start your adoption journey with us you'll have access to a wealth of adoption support.
We'll work with you to develop all the skills and qualities you'll need as you build your family. And it certainly doesn't stop once your child comes to live with you; our post adoption support is there for you as long as you and your family should need it.
Our adoption preparation process explores and explains every aspect of adoption. Becoming an adoptive parent demands huge adjustments – to your work life, your leisure activities, holidays and relationships. You will also need to develop parenting skills to help you to look after children.
The preparation and training process will give you the information and advice you need to help you on your way and give you the opportunity to think about ways you can make a positive difference to the lives of the child(ren) you will become parents to.
ATV hold Preparation Groups throughout the year. All applicants need to attend the preparation groups before they can be considered as adopters.
You will learn about:
- the process of adoption
- the children and the reasons why they need adoptive families - including the effects of abuse
- child development
- children's behaviour
- how children can be helped to understand their own family history
Anyone over the age of 21 can be considered as an adopter, regardless of marital status, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income or whether you have parenting experience or not.
There is no such thing as an ‘ideal’ adoptive family and when we are looking for families we are interested in what you can offer a child and how you can best fulfil their individual needs.
We are looking for families from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds who can offer a permanent loving home and a secure environment to a child.
When a child needs to be placed outside of their birth family, most of the time they will initially go into foster care. Foster Carers provide a family home for a child whilst decisions are made about the child’s long term future, and the expectation is that, where possible, work will be done with the birth family to enable the child to return home. However if it is not deemed appropriate that the child goes back to their birth family, decisions will be made about the future placement of that child, and what official court order that would come under.
These orders include
1. Care Orders (which means the Parental Responsibility stays with the Local Authority) and the child will stay living with Foster Carers who work either for the Local Authority or a private fostering agency, and the child will have a Social Worker, and independent reviews until they leave care at 18;
2. Special Guardianship Orders (where Parental Responsibility is shared between the Special Guardian(s) and birth parents) where either a birth family member, friend of the family or Foster Carer can apply to have permanent responsibility for the child, thus removing them from the Care system; or
3. Adoption Order – where the child is placed with a totally new family of trained adopters and parental responsibility is removed from the birth parents and passed to the adopters permanently. The child is no longer then within the care system and his/her adoptive family have full legal rights and responsibilities for them.
Therefore Foster Carers have responsibility for a child whilst they remain in the legal care of the Local Authority
No, unfortunately you cannot apply unless you or your partner are a UK resident. Your permanent home must be in the UK at the time of assessment.
It is a great asset to have had experience of looking after children when applying to adopt so having children of your own will certainly not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up.
Consideration will, however, be given to the age gap between your own children and the age of the child(ren) you wish to adopt.
Any birth children in the family will need to be at least two years old. This is because an adopted child needs to be the youngest in the family, often by a couple of years.
There is no upper age limit when determining who can adopt. However the assessment will take into account your physical ability to look after a child and the child’s needs. In turn this may have a bearing on the age of the child you will have to consider.
Being disabled will not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter and it is recognised that people with disabilities are able to provide a very loving home for a child.
Your general health or any disability you may have must still enable you to meet the challenges our children may bring. Your health will be assessed on this basis.
If you have a medical condition, please let us know as early as possible.
If you have been convicted of serious offences such as offences against children, murder, serious sexual offences or serious fraud then you will not be able to adopt.
With the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest in your application.
Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks will be undertaken during the application process.
You can adopt whether you rent or own your own home.
Your home must be secure and in a suitable condition for children to live in and have the space to accommodate a child.
Married or unmarried couples (including same-sex), couples in civil partnerships and single people can apply to adopt.
The stability and permanency of any relationship you are in is our only concern.
Take the first step, we'll help.
We know it's daunting making the first move, it takes courage and sometimes comes as a result of a lot of heartache, we appreciate and understand this. Our adopters tell us that once they do take the first step, it can be a huge relief. Our information evenings are a safe space to learn more about the adoption process, get to know us as an agency and team and ask any questions you may have. You'll also have the opportunity to meet and hear from adopters who've been there and can give valuable insights into the challenges and rewards of becoming an adoptive parent.
If you're unable to make any of our events, don't worry just give us a call on 01642 526 400 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange for you to have a call or meet with a social worker at a time that suits you.
Adoption Tees Valley
TEL: 01642 526400