Hartlepool flies high in adoption ‘league’

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HARTLEPOOL has won national acclaim for its swift adoption process.

Over a three-year period between 2008 and 2010, Hartlepool Borough Council managed to place 95 per cent of its children in care with an adoptive family within 12 months.

That put the town third in a national table.

It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to name and shame under-performing local authorities that are failing children up for adoption and fostering.

Launching the Give a Child a Home campaign at the start of national adoption week, Mr Cameron said councils that do not improve could be taken over by more effective authorities, or have their services contracted out privately.

The town was listed behind York which topped the table, and South Tyneside Council which was ranked in second place.

South Tyneside managed to find parents for 96 per cent of youngsters and York a whopping 100 per cent.

The average timescale from across the country is two years and seven months to complete the process from the moment a child is deemed suitable for adoption, to the point where they are placed with a family - but there are huge variations in different parts of the country.

Durham came 17th in the list, with 88 per cent of youngsters adopted within the year, North Yorkshire came 19th with 87 per cent of kids adopted, and Middlesbrough came in at 46 with an 80 per cent adoption rate.

The council highlighted as dragging its feet most in the adoption process was Hackney in London which was ranked 143rd with just 43 per cent of children adopted within a year.

The Government’s main adviser on adoption, Martin Narey, said: “League tables give us an indicator of where to look to try to understand there are inexplicable differences between towns just a few miles apart in the number of adoptions.

“Far too many people are treated shabbily, far too many people give up during the process and far too many people are told they can’t apply because they don’t suit what a particular local authority thinks it needs. That does have to change.”