Advice guide launched by voluntary adoption agencies to provide important insight into adopting children with additional needs.

VOLUNTARY adoption agencies across the UK have joined forces to find more adoptive parents for children with additional needs who are waiting for a family.

Children with additional needs wait an average of 11 months longer* in care than their peers and voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs) are urgently looking for people who can offer them a permanent and loving home.

ARC Adoption North East is among 21 VAAs from all over the UK who have together created a guide for people considering adoption containing helpful information and advice from parents who have already adopted children with additional needs.

“It may sound daunting for people thinking about adoption to consider a child with additional needs but our adoptive parents who have done so say it is incredibly rewarding. It gives a child the chance to flourish and to grow up with the love and security that every child deserves.

“All children can have additional needs at times. These could be to do with their development, learning, communication, behaviour or emotional wellbeing. There are also children with physical disabilities.

“Many of the thousands of children waiting in care who have additional needs, wait nearly a year longer than other children. We want to change that.

“We are excited to be part of this project sharing first hand, heartfelt experience and advice from families who have already done this incredible thing of adopting a child with additional needs.”

Terry Fitzpatrick OBE, Director at ARC Adoption North East

ARC Adoption North East recently launched a regional appeal for an adoptive family for two sisters, one of whom has additional needs including a form of cerebral palsy and epilepsy. The agency is urging people to come forward who may be able to offer the stability, care and attention that both children need after a difficult start in life, and almost two years spent in foster care. It is hoped that the advice guide, will give people who have seen the appeal, or are thinking about adoption generally, an additional insight into adopting a child with additional needs.

Parents, Kevin and Deb, went through the adoption process for a second time after Deb met a little girl by chance at an adoption activity day where she was volunteering. They had this to say about adopting a child with additional needs:

“We learnt about her cerebral palsy straight away and started to research the implications. We got lots of information from the Social Work team and were supported well by ARC to consider the implications for us. We decided that, to be honest, why would we not want to adopt this bundle of joy with such a spirit for life!

“Since adopting again, the best things for us have been having a little girl grow in our family and be the best she can be. Seeing her incredible progress, constantly achieving more than people thought she would. Looking at her character and not her disability. We would 100% recommend adopting a child with additional needs – the rewards and pride are a million-fold more than health appointments and worries.”

VAAs are specialists in finding families for children who wait the longest in care. They work in partnership with regional adoption agencies and local authorities to find families for children waiting for a permanent home.

VAAs are independent, not-for-profit organisations who have intensive services to provide families with vital support both when the children are placed and into the future.

“We are so grateful to the adoptive parents who have contributed to this new CVAA advice guide to share their personal experiences of the reality of adopting a child with additional needs.

“What is clear from their advice is that there may be challenges but they are far outweighed by pride, joy and love. And so prospective adopters should not rule themselves out of being able to achieve the same in their own families.

“The voluntary adoption sector are specialists in finding families for children who wait the longest to be adopted and being there for them with bespoke, lifelong packages of support.”

Satwinder Sandhu, Chief Executive of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) which represents VAAs across the country

People can download a copy of the advice guide on the ARC Adoption North East website –, as well as find information relating to the special family finding appeal for the two young sisters.

To find a list of all VAAs visit

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