Thousands of adoptive families are now accessing essential therapy services to help their children close the door on previous traumatic experiences and settle into their new life, backed by £7m of government investment.

Since the introduction of the fund in April 2015, the most significant reform to adoption support in a generation, applications have been made by every single council in the country.

And to make sure families get the support they need, when they need it, Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson has today unveiled a new coalition of adoption champions, who will advise and challenge Ministers on how help and support for families can be improved.

The government has also revealed details of the first 14 Regional Adoption Agencies, groups of councils and voluntary adoption agencies coming together with one single purpose - to place children waiting for adoption without delay with their forever family.

At the moment, adoption is happening at too small and localised a scale. One study showed that in around one in three cases, children were left waiting longer than necessary due to councils' reluctance to look outside their immediate area for the right family a further delay to a life full of love and stability.

Encouraging local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies to join forces will act as a triple win, giving agencies a greater pool of approved adopters to improve matching, making vital support services more widely available to adoptive families and better targeting the recruitment of adopters.

To further support National Adoption Week and the life-changing adoption reforms being carried out, here are the ten most common misconceptions about adoption:

10 Common Misconceptions About Adoption

1. I'm Single, So I Can't Adopt

Single people can adopt, whatever their gender. Many single people and unmarried couples have successfully adopted children.

2. I'm Too Old To Adopt

Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit. Agencies will expect you to have the health and vitality to see your children through to an age of independence. Consideration will be given to your age comparative to the age of the child you want to adopt; younger children are more likely to be placed with younger parents.

3. I Can't Adopt Because I'm Gay

Whether you are heterosexual, lesbian or gay, it is not a factor in your right to adopt.

4. I Work Full Time So I'm Not Allowed To Adopt/I'm Unemployed Or Too Poor To Adopt

Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but low income, being unemployed or employed do not automatically rule you out. You can be an adoptive parent while on benefits.

5. I Can't Adopt Because I Have A Criminal Record

If you have a criminal caution or conviction for offences against children or certain sexual offences against adults then you will not be able to adopt but, with the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest in your application.

6. I Have Children Living At Home, So I Won't Be Able To Adopt

Not true. Having children of your own (of any age) will certainly not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up. Consideration will, however, be given to the age gap between your own children and the age of the child or children you wish to adopt and the position of each child within the family in accordance with the child's needs. Children over 18 will usually be DBS checked, as will any other adult member of your household.

7. I Won't Be Allowed To Adopt Because I Can't Have My Own Children

It is really important that anyone wanting to be an adoptive parent understands their own motivations. Agencies will expect you to discuss both emotional and medical issues with them. If you have had or are undergoing fertility treatment most agencies will expect you to complete any medical investigations and fertility treatments before considering adoption. The emotional demands in pursuing either route to parenthood can be great and doing both in tandem is not encouraged. Most agencies specify a set timescale between infertility treatment ending and formally applying to be approved as adopters, usually about six months but this can be discussed at the start of the process.

8. I Can't Adopt Because I Smoke

Smoking will not necessarily rule you out from adopting. Consideration will be given to this and to all health and lifestyle related issues, and the agency will want to know of any specific health risks to you or to the children who may be placed in your care.

9. I Am Disabled So Will Not Be Allowed To Adopt

Being disabled does not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter and it is widely recognised that disabled people can often provide a very loving home for a child. Disability is only one of the many issues that will be considered by an adoption agency so don't rule yourself out before you have had a conversation with your agency of choice.

10. I Can't Adopt A Child From A Different Ethnic Background

Not true. The aim for everyone in the adoption system is to find loving families for each child in need of a happy future, even if there is not a perfect ethnic match. Ethnicity is relevant however and you must have an understanding of the challenges that raising a child of a different ethnicity can provide. Your agency will help prepare you for this if it applies to you.

Find out the 10 most common misconceptions about adoption

Find out the 10 most common misconceptions about adoption

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