A new adoption agency, which brings together 23 London boroughs to help find new homes for children in care and speed up the adoption process, launched this week.

Celebrity couple Carrie and David Grant, who have four children, including an adopted son, helped to officially launch Adopt London at the Assembly Halls, Islington on Tuesday.

The TV presenters, probably best known as judges on the talent show, Fame Academy, as well as for their regular slots on a range of shows from The One Show to Songs of Praise delivered a keynote speech urging members of the public to consider adoption.

With three children who have a range of complex needs, and an adopted son with special needs, the couple talked about some of the challenges they have faced while raising their children.

They also met staff as they put their support behind the new agency, which will look to work effectively to make a difference for children and families across the borough.

Carrie and David said:

“Raising children with additional needs has been both challenging and fantastic. We’ve learned so much as family and we feel privileged to have been able to adopt a child. There are so many in care and in need of a family. We’d encouraged people to seriously think about adoption and how they could make a difference to a child’s life.”

Councillor Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Families, said:

“By working together with our neighbouring boroughs under Adopt London, we can be in a position to speed up the matching process for children waiting in care with potential adopters and cut down the time children have to spend waiting for adopters to come forward.

“The main aim is to make it quicker and easier for prospective adopters from across London to be assessed and approved.

“We believe that this new approach to adoption will also enable our children in care to move in with their adoptive family at a younger age, helping towards their well-being and giving them that chance to be part of a loving family.”

Annie Hudson, chair of the exec board, for Adopt London, said:

“This is a first for London and sees 23 of London’s local authorities joining forces to speed up the process for people waiting to adopt children while also helping to cut down the length of time that children spend waiting to be adopted.

“Adoption is both rewarding and fulfilling and can make a real difference to both the child’s and the adult’s life. It’s important that we attract people from all parts of the community and that no one rules themselves out from adopting a child.”

Adopt London is made up of four regional agencies in the North, South, East and West who work together to provide adoption services for 23 of the 32 London local authorities.

It was formed in response to a Government mandate that all local authorities must join a regional adoption agency by April 2020.

Pic caption – Robert South, Havering’s Director of Children’s Services & Belinda Bhatti, team manager, Havering’s Children’s Services, join Carrie & David Grant at the Adopt London launch