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The following systems will be unavailable from 4.30pm on Wednesday 12 June until 8.00am on Thursday 13 June: our welfare assistance form.

There is currently a problem with our image galleries. We are working to get them fixed.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Support for birth families

If you've had a child adopted, or are trying to trace a child, we can help.

Families of children currently going through the adoption process

If a child you're related to has been placed in our care and the plan is for them to be adopted, you will be invited to meetings to discuss what will happen. Contact us for more information if you're in this situation.

Tracing and contact with children adopted in the past

We can help you find, and make initial contact, with your adopted relatives. You must be 18 years old and live in County Durham before you can try to contact an adopted family member using our service.  

Contact us and an adoption social worker will give you advice on tracing your adopted relative. The more information you have, including any documents such as birth or marriage certificates, the more this will help.

What we can do

We will:

  • contact the agency where the adoption was organised to find out more information (If you do not know the details of the adoption agency, you may need to contact the General Register Office and the court to get this information. There may be a charge for this.)
  • protect the welfare, safety and wishes of everyone involved
  • offer you a counselling interview to discuss your expectations and the implications of contacting your adopted relative
  • find out whether the adopted person has placed a veto on their adoption record to prevent contact with birth relatives

Finding and making contact

We can help with:

  • some limited tracing and contact through their last known address
  • if we're unable to trace the adopted person, we will refer you to organisations that may be able to help

After contact is made

If we make contact with your adopted relative we will:

  • offer them the opportunity to talk to a counsellor to help with their decision on whether to accept your request
  • handle any initial contact with you - often this is done by letter and photographs
  • respect their decision on the level of contact with you including if they say no

What if they don't want to be contacted?

We'll put your details on the adopted person's file in case they change their mind in the future.

Adoption Contact Register

Add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register if you're looking for adopted family members. Please note it is not a tracing service - for a connection to be made between two people they must both have added their details to the register.

Other support

You can also get support from national organisations such as:

  • PAC-UK - specialist therapy, advice, support, counselling and training for people affected by adoption or other forms of permanent placement
  • Adoption Search Reunion - information and advice to help trace and contact relatives
  • After Adoption - independent counselling and support

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