A MAJOR campaign is launched in Cumbria today tackling myths surrounding adoption.

Cumbria County Council, the authority responsible for social care in the county, has today launched its “biggest ever” campaign aimed at dispelling untruths about adoption.

It is hoped more prospective parents from all walks of life will consider adoption.

Anne Burns, the council’s cabinet member for children and family services, said: “We’re always ready to talk to people who are considering adopting, so if that’s you, please take that first step and contact us.”

“Over the last five years, we have found permanent families for 270 local children who needed the security and love that adoptive parents provide.”

The campaign comes amid soaring numbers of children in care across the country.

There are now 78,150 children in care in England, a 28 per cent rise in the last 10 years.

The county council’s service manager for adoption, Ruth McHugh, outlined the process by which prospective parents become adoptive parents.

She said it begins with a home visit from a social worker to go through the process in detail. “Then they’ll be offered a place on three-day training courses. We run those courses every two months, so nobody ever has long to wait for that,” she said.

“After that, if they wanted to go ahead and we thought it was right they did go ahead, we would do the necessary background checks.”

The council will help prospective parents be properly prepared. “For example, we might recommend they spend some time in a nursery,” she said.

One myth Ruth was keen to dispel is the length of time the adoption process takes. “The whole process won’t take longer than six, maybe eight months,” she said.

She also stressed it was rare for prospective parents committed to the adoption to be rejected in their application.

Ruth added that adoption can require “more than normal parenting”, as a result of the turbulent experiences many of the children in the county council’s care have been through.

“It does vary, but almost all of them have lost a family. That has an impact” she said. “But we help adoptive parents work with strategies on how to help them overcome that.”

Support is also available to parents after the adoption, up until the age of 18 or over, if needed.

Ruth said that once the process is complete, it was “wonderful to see the children in a settled home with people who are committed to being their family for life.

“Adopting a child is giving them a family for life, just as we would all want,” she said.

As part of the council’s campaign, those interested in adoption will be able to book private appointments with a social worker in Carlisle, Barrow, Penrith or Workington. For further details, visit cumbria.gov.uk/adoption.