sccEVENTS AND ACTIVITIES across Sunderland are planned as part of National Adoption Week (19 – 25 0ct).

The annual event raises awareness of children waiting for adoption, with this year’s theme Too Old at 4?’ which is an issue affecting many so-called older children waiting for adoption.

Figures from the national adoption information service First4Adoption, based on information from the National Adoption Register, show that the average age of children waiting to be placed in adoptive families is just four years old.

This year’s theme is hoped to encourage more potential adopters to consider adopting older children, aged four and above.

Events in Sunderland include the monthly fostering and adoption information open evening, held this month on Monday 19 October at the Sandhill Centre 6.30pm, the development of new support facilities and a ‘Friends and Family’ information session at the Sandhill Centre on Thursday 22 Oct at 5.30pm-7.30pm.

The open evenings are for anyone interested in becoming a foster carer or adopting a child. Staff are there to answer any questions and provide further information, while foster carers and adopters are available to describe their first-hand experience of the many rewards that providing a safe, secure and loving home for a child can bring.

For further details of adoption in Sunderland please visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/adoption

The Friends and Family information session is an opportunity for the family and friends of those interested in adoption to come along and learn more about the process and how they can support their loved ones.

Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Pat Smith said: “We are always happy to support ‘National Adoption Week’ in the city as it helps raise awareness of both the invaluable contribution of existing adoptive families and the need for more people to come forward.

“Adopting a child or young person is a tremendous commitment to make, but one which can bring so much to the lives of all those involved.

“There is help and practical support available for anyone who would like to provide a secure and loving home for some of our most vulnerable children and hopefully this week will encourage people to find out more.”