Could you help a parentless child?

Kids in care locally crave security, love and a stable family life
Kids in care locally crave security, love and a stable family life
Have your say

Being raised by our parents in a loving home is something most of us take for granted.

Sadly for 54 children in Blackpool that kind of upbringing is something they can only dream of.

A new study has earmarked the resort as one of the areas in the UK with the highest number of children waiting to be adopted, and calls are being made for new potential parents to make themselves known.

Paul, 38, is an adoptive parent who is desperate to help the recruitment drive.

For him and his wife, who now care for three siblings - aged seven, four, and three - taking the first tentative steps towards adoption has led them to “a fantastic reward.”

He said: “We met with a social worker, they came to our house to meet us and they gave us more information as a couple to let us decide as to whether we wanted to proceed or not.

“We thought about it and then went through the assessment which sounds quite daunting, but it wasn’t onerous.”

Paul, a nurse from Thornton, admits it took a lot of soul searching to get himself into the position where he could become an adopter, but says there was support every step of the way.

“There are lots of challenges and you’ve got to look deeply at yourself to accept that challenge and find out what skills you can offer a child, and how you can support that child through the process into a stable family home.”

“There’s definitely challenges for different ages and it depends on what the adoptive parents can face.

“My recommendation is they need to be honest with themselves about what they can cope with.

“There are children out there with issues, but the key thing is the social worker is there to help you understand them as well.”

But just why has the resort got such a high proportion of children in need of adoption?

Paul has his own theory - but believes the amount of support and camaraderie between social services in the town, adoptive families and indeed their adopted children, makes the process much easier for all concerned.

“There’s lots of issues in Blackpool around its transient population so people come and go, and there’s a lot of social depravation which needs to be addressed.

“Blackpool social services are great - if you have any questions there’s normally support groups and you actually make quite a lot of friends as well.

“It’s good for the kids as well because they’re not on their own then.”

The adoption process has received a bad press in recent months following claims a family in Rotherham had three children removed from their care because they were members of the UK Independence Party.

Paul’s views on this subject are clear.

“The UKIP thing was just an absolute disgrace.”

“If people can offer a child a stable upbringing they should be welcomed with open arms regardless of their beliefs, religion, gender or sexuality.”

And for Paul, the incentives of adoption are plain to be seen for all, but he admits the battle to get willing adults to offer up their home to a child in need will always persist.

However, his enthusiasm for helping prospective parents on the road to becoming adopters is tangible when asked what advice he can offer those thinking about taking it on.

“Seeing them getting settled is just a fantastic reward.

“Contact social services and ask questions.

“Blow some of the myths out of the water and break down some of those preconceived ideas.”

So the advice for those toying with the idea of dedicating themselves to giving a child a second chance in life is clear - just ask.

And Carol Nowell, who runs Blackpool Council’s adoption team, guarantees the right help will be there every step of the way.

She said: “They would be well supported here and it’s a wide range of people we’re looking for - a cross-section of society really.

“We’re looking for people who want to consider young babies, sibling groups and older children too.”

And, according to Carol, the chances of passing an assessment are almost 100 per cent.

“We approve nearly all of our adopters, but people do drop out of the process themselves.”

Anyone who thinks they could offer love and support to one of the resort’s parentless children can pick up the phone and find out more from the Blackpool Council adoption team on (01253) 477886.