Adoption

We’ve been finding new families for children who can no longer live with their birth families since 1943!

Since then, we’ve helped hundreds of couple and individuals to become adoptive parents and create new families. That includes individuals as well as couples from Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester.

None of them are saints. They’re people just like you. You can read some of their stories here. And remember that adoption can be as challenging as it is rewarding, and those rewards can be priceless and beyond words.

Back to top

Working with you

We’re honest as well as experienced and we’ll be up front with you at every stage. Adoption isn’t easy and the process can at times be daunting but remember, hundreds of individuals and families just like yours have gone through and come out with one of the greatest gifts of all: the opportunity to give a child hope, stability and a great future with a new family.

4 3 2 1 , 6 5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1 0 9 8 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 9

There are currently 4,650 children in the UK who are ready to be placed for adoption. Some wait years to be adopted and some never receive a single enquiry. The total number of children waiting increases each year by 700, making the wait for some children even longer.

We’d be happy to tell you about the process in more detail face to face, over the phone or by email.

We can also send you an information pack which will answer some more of your questions.

What’s involved in the adoption process?

We help and support people every step of the way in their journey to be adoptive parents. Our support is for life.

The preparation, assessment and approval process is thorough. It has to be. It will take at least six months but we believe that the more thorough and realistic we are, the more likely the placement is to last and be successful for all concerned.

The process begins after you decided to register as a prospective adopter.

You will be asked for permission for us to undertake a series of checks, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (Criminal Records Bureau disclosure), which are required by law to make sure that children’s safety is protected. You will also be asked to undergo a medical.

You will be invited to a series of preparation groups, held regularly in Preston and in other areas, where you will meet with other prospective adopters and be given detailed information about adoption and about the kind of children we place with families. The assessment will then begin.

You will be allocated your own social worker, who will visit you at home throughout this process, to get to know you and your family, and compile with you a home study report, called the Prospective Adopters Report. This report is presented to our Adoption Panel, and you will be invited to attend.

This Panel will consider the report and make a recommendation about your suitability to adopt to the Director or Assistant Director of Caritas Care, who will then make a final decision about your approval as suitable to adopt.

The bit that all adopters look forward to can then really start! You will receive regular visits from your social worker, who will work alongside you to find the right child or sibling group to be matched with your family. The process of finding the right child for you can take a few weeks but in most cases will take several months, involving a lot of discussion and exchange of information. If you and the child’s agency both agree, you will be linked to a suitable child or sibling group, and after a period of introductions the child or children will move in with you.

Your social worker will continue to visit and support you, and if you need the advice and support of other professionals, from health or education, we will support you in getting the right help.

You will be invited to Adopters Support Groups, where ongoing training as well as mutual peer support features. Your social worker will continue to support you up to and beyond the making of an adoption order.

Back to top

Support for life

For adopters...

We’re really good at what we do, especially when it comes to preparing and supporting people every step of the way to become successful adopters. We’re friendly, professional and very approachable. And our support is for life!

The Centre for Adoption Support

The Centre for Adoption Support is a specialist service providing support for families who have adopted through Caritas Care, Adoption Matters Northwest, Cheshire West and Chester and WWISH local authorities.

The Centre for Adoption Support:
- Will work with families in identifying and addressing the support requirements of children, and in clarifying their future needs.
- Will ensure the support needs of adopted children are widely recognized, acknowledged and met by linking with our partners in education and health services.
Will provide adoptive families with greater insight and assurance that their child’s needs will be met with assured support provision.

How Do I Access Support?

Contact Caritas Care on 01772 732313 or email info@caritascare.org.uk to discuss your concerns with our Advice Line. Where appropriate, a referral will be made to The Centre for Adoption Support who offer a consultation session. During the consultation, you will be able to share any concerns and will be offered advice, support and guidance. The Centre has been established with support from the Department for Education’s National Prospectus Grants Programme.

What’s involved in the adoption process?

Supporting people who have been adopted and their birth relatives

Caritas Care, (we used to operate as Catholic Caring Services), provides a sensitive and professional service to all adopted adults and the adult birth relatives of those adopted through the agency in years gone by.

Adopted adults over the age of 18 years may wish to access information about their adoption, and birth history. It may be that they just want to find out more about their background, something which often people feel they want to do when they have children of their own.

In some cases, the adopted adult may wish to trace and seek to make contact with a birth relative, and we can then provide an intermediary service, and support the adopted adult and relatives through this process.

A birth relative of someone adopted through the agency may also request a service and Caritas Care will respond sensitively to all such enquiries.

If you think you or your relative may have been adopted through Catholic Caring Services, and you want to know what to do next then please write to: The Adoption Manager, Caritas Care, 218 Tulketh Rd, Preston, PR2 1ES, with your details. There is no cost for this service.

If an adopted adult was not adopted through Caritas Care, they can access a service from their local authority. There are many agencies that are able help adopted adults and you may find the links below useful:

Back to top

Different ways of creating new families

Adopting Babies under 2 - known as Concurrent Planning

Over the years there have been hundreds of local people that have chosen adoption as the route to creating a new family.

The world of adoption is always changing. The numbers of children who are in care and hoping to join a new family are increasing dramatically each year. The age range now includes more babies and infants, as well as more older children.

New approaches to adoption have been developed that combine adoption with fostering. They are called Concurrent Planning and Fostering for Adoption.

Caritas Care is working in partnership with Adoption Matters Northwest to develop these new initiatives. We’d like to tell you more about them.

Both organisations are specialist adoption charities with a great reputation for helping people create longed-for families through successful adoption.

Even though we usually complete the process well within recommended timescales, that’s still too long for some of the children who have to move from a foster family to their adoptive family just when relationships are building and when they most need stability and permanence.

Concurrent Planning and Fostering For Adoption provide alternative routes to adoption without children having to move between carers. That means greater stability and reduced disruption for the children involved.

To book a place on our next Information Event

Tuesday 25 March, 7pm – 9pm – please call 0800 652 6955.

 

Find out more by visiting

Babyfirst Adoption and download our leaflet.  You can also call us on 0800 652 6955.

 

Grace, Olivia and Jack

Grace is 5, Olivia is nearly 3 and Jack is 18 months. They are a delightful ready- made loving sibling group who need a special family who can keep them together.

Grace, Olivia and Jack have a fabulous loving relationship with one another, enjoy playing together and always want to know where each other is. They are described by their foster carer as fun, affectionate and bright children, who have bundles of energy, are brilliant sleepers and have made great progress since being in foster care. The three siblings are very comical together and enjoy dressing up and hosting tea parties.

Financial support may be available.

If you are interested in knowing more about Grace, Olivia and Jack and adoption please contact us today on 0800 652 6955 or email info@caritascare.org.uk

Sally’s Story

Placed for adoption at age 5 years

Sally had lived with her birth mother for the first 18 months of her life. Her birth mum suffered from mental ill health and despite her efforts to care for her, was often in hospital. Sally had no other family members who could care for her and she became used to being cared for by lots of different friends and neighbours. This did not meet Sally’s needs, and concerns about her care led to her being placed with foster carers at the age of 2 years.

At first, Sally was confused and anxious, and missed her mother. The foster carer took her to visit her birth mum in hospital, but while Mum was happy to see her, she was unable to respond to Sally’s needs. It was finally decided by a court that Sally needed the permanence and security of adoption.

When Sally’s social worker first approached Caritas Care, Sally was 4 years old and had become settled with her foster carer. She did enjoy the cuddles and attention from her carer, but was demanding on occasions. The foster carer felt that this behaviour was understandable in view of Sally’s early life, and while Sally was anxious about some things, the carer and Nursery commented upon her progress, during her 2 years in foster care.

The social worker responsible for Sally wanted a new family who could accept Sally’s background, and the fact that her birth mum had a mental illness. The family identified was Sarah, who was a single woman, with some experience of children through her work. Sarah also had a very supportive extended family. During Sarah’s home study to prepare her to become an adoptive parent, she had considered if she could care for a child where a parent had a mental illness.

Sarah and her social worker had researched aspects of mental illness in some depth, and once Sarah knew she was being considered as Sally’s new parent, she and her worker were provided with more information about Sally’s history and that of her birth family, from the local authority. This helped Sarah decide if she could be Sally’s Mum.

A great deal of work was done to ensure that both Sally and Sarah were prepared and supported as they began their journey to becoming mother and daughter. Sarah took Sally home just before her 5th birthday. Sarah would agree that the first 6months were challenging at times, as Sally had to learn to trust her. Now two years on, she is settled, attends her local school, and is proving to be a bright little girl, who is eager to learn. Sally occasionally sees her previous foster carer and is always interested in any children she is caring for.

Sarah helps Sally draw a picture for her birth mum which she sends to her through the local authority. Sarah also writes a letter to her every year, to re-assure her that Sally is well. As Sally grows up, Sarah will continue to help her understand why her birth mum could not look after her.

Sarah says that she could not imagine life without her daughter!

Back to top

Children who are waiting

There are currently 4,650 children in the UK who are ready to be placed for adoption. Some wait years to be adopted and some never receive a single enquiry. The total number of children waiting increases each year by 700, making the wait for some children even longer.

While most people associate adoption with infants, but we now find families for children of all ages from babies upwards. Most of the children we place are between the ages of 2 and 7 years old. Sometimes, especially if there is a sibling group, one of the children may be a little older, up to 10 years old. In our Concurrent Planning service we place babies aged 0-2 years (click here to find out more).

There are many children waiting for adoption who may have uncertain backgrounds, a learning or physical disability, or emotional difficulties arising from their early experiences. They may need to be placed with their brothers or sisters in a sibling group.

Caritas Care works with other Voluntary Agencies and Local Authorities in the North West in trying to find the right families for all these children. Most of the children we place come from the North of England, however we also place children from all over the country. The most important thing is to ensure that the right family is found for the child or children waiting.

You can see some profiles of the kind of children we place here.

To find out more about these children waiting or to book a place on our next information session call us on 0800 652 6955.

View children's profiles here
Back to top

Contact us

You will have different reasons for thinking about fostering or adoption.

Perhaps you want to add to your family and give something back.

You may have faced the heartbreak of infertility.

Your children may have left home and you want to fill the gap.

Whatever the reason, we know how big a step it can be to make the first contact. We want to make it easy and convenient for you to get the answers you’re looking for. And we want to support you every step of the way.

0800 652 6955

Feel free to call and talk with our friendly fostering and adoption experts. They’re very experienced and they understand what you’re going through.

onlineenquiry@caritascare.org.uk

Email us any questions you may have or to make an appointment.

VISIT

You can visit us at any of our offices, but it’s always best to make an appointment. Click here for details.

You can ask for someone to come and visit you at home, using the email, phone number or text details above. You can ask for a copy of our information pack using the email, phone number or text details above. Whatever’s right for you right now, it’s your choice. Thanks for visiting the Caritas Care website.

Fostering

Caritas Care started its Foster Care Service in 1998. It’s been a real success, as much for the foster carers we work with as the children that have benefitted so much from the care and love they receive from our carers.

The service was rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted when we were inspected in 2011. We’re really proud of that.

Foster carers do such an important job and we need many more people from the Lancashire area to care for children of all ages – from babies to teenagers – who can’t live with their birth families for many different reasons.

Those reasons can involve illness, family breakdown or concerns about a child’s safety and wellbeing.

Whether you look after them for just a short time, for a big part of their childhood or even permanently, we’ll give you all the support and advice you need to make it a success for you and the children.

Back to top

What is fostering?

While adoption is a legal process by which parental responsibility for a child is permanently transferred from birth parents to adoptive parents, foster carers share the responsibility for looking after a child with social services, and do not become the child’s legal parent.

The challenge

It’s not always easy being a foster carer but then being birth parents is never easy. It’s inevitably packed with challenges and the usual ups and downs of family life!

Some the children that need fostering may have complex emotional problems, or a physical or learning disability. Children like this need people who have the time, space and experience to care for them. People like you?

One thing’s for sure – the rewards of being such an important part of these children’s childhoods can be immense. You’ll be making such a difference.

Back to top

Types of fostering?

Foster care takes various forms. You’ll be able to choose the one that best suits you, your own family and your circumstances.

Here's an overview

Long term

This is for children who can’t return to their birth parents, but for whom adoption isn’t really suitable. Children placed for long-term fostering are often older, or still have contact with their birth family.

Short term

This is for children who need looking after temporarily perhaps at times of crisis and stress in the birth family. This may be for a period of weeks, or sometimes months.

Bridging term

Our foster carers work with children to prepare them for moving on, perhaps to adoption, independence or back home.

Respite care

A support resource for parents or other foster carers of children with special needs.

Mother and baby

A special support where foster carers offer a supportive home to both mother and her child to help to nurture the bonding or simply to provide a supportive short term and safe environment.

Opening Doors

A service for older children who have led more troubled lives who need dedicated and specially trained foster carers to help them move forward into a brighter future. Opening Doors carers are paid a higher weekly allowance and given special training to help them in their task. (For more information on this click here)

Back to top

What does a great foster carer
look like?

Like any parent, you need patience, commitment and enjoy caring for children and helping shape their future.

You need to be able to enjoy the challenges as much as the rewards, and if you can draw on your own personal or working life experiences, you’ll be able to make an even bigger difference to young people.

Our foster carers come from all sorts of backgrounds. You don’t have to be married or even be in a relationship. You don’t have to have birth children already. You don’t need to be employed and have lots of money. You don’t have to own your own home or have a big house, and you don’t have to be young!

Many potential foster carers are surprised by that!

What you will need is energy, enough space to offer children their own bedroom, space in which children can play, time and patience, and stickability!

Back to top

Money and support

We’re really good at what we do, especially when it comes to preparing and supporting people every step of the way to become successful foster carers. We’re friendly, professional and very approachable. And our support is there for as long as you need us.

Click here to find out more about the process involved in becoming a successful foster carer.

Fostering can be a ‘career’ choice, and a real alternative to working outside of the home.

Foster carers receive a comprehensive package of support, including:

  • Fees and allowances
  • Expert advice and support available 24/7
  • Specialist training
  • Respite arrangements if and when you need a break

This support will help carers to look after those children and young people who often miss out on foster placements.

The foster child will have their own social worker, and so will you!

He or she will be a highly-experienced professional who will have experienced every challenge and situation. They will visit you regularly and offer support and advice. Remember, there is always someone for our carers to talk to when there are problems, 24/7.

There are regular Foster Carer Support Groups, where you will be able to meet together, share experiences, and stay up to date. You can even get involved in training and gain qualifications.

You’ll also be able to access specific expertise from other professionals when there are problems with behaviour, health issues or school-related challenges. We’re here to help you do a fantastic job, every step of the way.

Back to top

The process of becoming an approved foster carer

As you’d expect, there is a process involved in preparing and approving you for the vital role of being a foster carer.

We’d love to hear from you. You can choose how you contact us – click here for details - and we have offices in Preston, Carlisle, Barrow-in-Furness and Manchester.

We can tell you about information evening that are held near you and give you any other information and help you need. We also have an information pack that we can send you.

Back to top

Sadie’s story

Sadie, from Blackpool, has been a foster carer for five years and during that time has provided one permanent and one 17 month placement, as well as offering weekend respite for children aged from seven months up to late teens.

The 64-year-old widower, who has a son, two step-children and three grandchildren, said: “My husband Roger and I had always talked about fostering but never got around to it. After he passed away I decided I had a lovely home, plenty of time on my hands and a lot of love to give and decided to go for it – even though my sister said I was mad and had enough on my plate!

“Fostering can be very rewarding but also a lot of hard work and be difficult at times. However, Caritas Care supports you all the way and there are lots of courses to help you respond to the children’s diverse needs, so you are always learning something new.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I’ve got so much out of being a carer. The children bring so much joy into my life and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all again.”

Stephanie’s story

Stephanie, from Penwortham, has been a foster carer for four years and during that time has provided long and short-term placements, as well as offering weekend respite for children aged from three up to late teens.

The 37-year-old single mum, whose 16-year-old son has cystic fibrosis, works part-time as an administrator for Lancashire Fire and Rescue. She said: “I had been thinking about fostering for a while when my son, who was 12 at the time, showed me an advert in the local paper appealing for foster carers and he said couldn’t we do something as he was an only child.

“However, I’m a single parent, who works part-time with a son who has cystic fibrosis and I thought Caritas Care wouldn’t want me! But they said they want people from all backgrounds and it all depends on the experience and skills each individual has to offer.

“I’ve never looked back because I love fostering and so does my son. There have been difficult placements because of the very diverse issues the children can have, including some with severe disabilities, but you soon overcome the challenges.

“I’ve found fostering tremendously rewarding because you can offer these children so much and you can really see the difference you make to their lives. If I was given the chance I’d like to be a foster carer for as long as I possibly can.”

Jenny (6) and David (3)

Jenny and David lived at home with their mum and her boyfriend Tom. There were frequent rows between their mum and Tom, often when they had both been drinking, and sometimes Tom hit their mum. When the rows got too bad, a decision was made that Jenny and David needed to be looked after in a foster home, while social workers try to help sort out the problems at home.

Jenny and David wanted to stay together, as they are very close; Jenny has always looked after David when things have been difficult at home. They need a foster family who can care for both of them, and help them to keep in contact with their mum too. They also need a foster mum who is sensitive to Jenny’s protectiveness towards David, and help her to just be a little girl and let go of the ‘parenting’ of her brother.

It is not known how long Jenny and David will need to be in foster care, but it is likely to be at least six months before final decisions are made about whether they can return home, or whether they will need a permanent new family.

Back to top

Children waiting for a great foster family

There are many children in care in Lancashire, of all ages from babies to teenagers, who need to be looked after in foster homes.

Many of the children referred to Caritas Care for foster placement are ‘difficult’ to place. This may be because they are older children, teenagers, have complex emotional problems, or have a physical or learning disability. It may be because they are a sibling group and need to stay together. Children like this need foster carers who have the time, space and experience to care for them.

Here are some stories of the sort of children and young people we place:

View children's profiles here

Thank you for getting in touch about adopting with Caritas Care.

If you chose to receive the information pack by post, then this will be posted to the address you provided.

Please click here to download your information pack.

Should you require any further information do not hesitate to contact us.

Connect with Caritas Care