Lewisham Council - Adoption support services

Adoption support services

Adoption is a major event and the people whose lives have been affected by adoption may need advice, help and support at various times in their lives.

Lewisham Council is an adoption agency and, under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, has a responsibility to provide support to all parties to adoption: adoptive families, birth families and adopted adults.

An advisor is based in the Adoption Support Team and can provide information and advice on the adoption process and available services.

Services for adopted adults

The Adoption Support Team is aware of the life-long impact of adoption and can offer support and an opportunity to look at the individual issues for adopted people. Many adopted people decide, at some point in their lives, to find out more about the circumstances that led to their adoption and to seek information about their birth families. Adopted adults have the right to access their adoption records, which hold information about their past. Like other adoption agencies, it is our responsibility to keep adoption records for 100 years.

Sometimes adopted people decide to try to trace and contact members of their birth family, or they may decide that they do not want to have any contact with their birth family and wish to place a veto on any contact from their birth family.

If you were adopted through us or currently live in Lewisham, the Adoption Support Team can provide services and advice for you and assist you through the process of accessing your adoption records and can act as an intermediary.

Available support services for adopted adults

  • Counselling, advice and information.
  • Access to adoption agency records.
  • Support groups for adopted people.
  • Access to a tracing service.
  • Intermediary service to contact birth relatives.
  • Pre- and post-reunion counselling.
  • Assistance if you do not wish to have contact with your birth family.

Services for adoptive families

Adopting a child can be rewarding and sometimes challenging! Many adoptive families find that at some point their family could benefit from outside advice and support, from people who understand that adopted children and their parents have particular issues to cope with during childhood and beyond. Adoption support services are available to help at these times.

Lewisham Council is responsible for providing an assessment for adoption support services:

  • If you adopted a child through us and it is less than three years since the adoption order was made, Lewisham Council will be the lead agency to provide you with support, wherever you live. After three years it is the responsibility of the authority where you live to provide support to your family.
  • If you live in the borough and it is over three years since your child’s adoption order was made, we are responsible for providing support, whatever agency placed your child.
  • If you adopted from overseas and live in the borough we can give you support.
  • If you are an adopted child under the age of 18 years, you can contact us for support.
  • If you are a step-parent family and have adopted your partner’s child, we can give you support.

The Adoption Support Team will carry out an adoption support assessment at your request. It will explore your particular situation, circumstances and needs and determine what resources are available locally to help you. From this assessment we will make a plan.

All local authorities must act reasonably in deciding whether to provide adoption support services following an assessment. If you would like an assessment please contact us.

Available support services for adoptive families

  • Counselling, advice and information on the telephone or face to face.
  • Support with any contact arrangements with the child’s birth family, either direct or indirect arrangements via a letterbox service. We also offer a mediation service if there are disagreements about the contact or if changes need to be agreed.
  • Support groups offering training and workshops.
  • Financial support may be available, based on assessment of need and on the adoptive parents’ financial resources.
  • Therapeutic services for children.
  • Annual family fun day.
  • Annual newsletter.

If you would like to be put on the mailing list to receive information about events which may be of interest, please contact us.

Services for birth families

As an adoption agency we have a duty to an adopted child’s birth family. We are committed to supporting birth relatives throughout the process of their child being adopted and afterwards.

Birth families who are affected by adoption often find it helpful to talk to someone about their experiences of losing a child to adoption. If there are contact arrangements with their adopted child, they may need help and support to maintain this contact. The Adoption Support Team will understand these issues and can help.

Birth parents, birth relatives and anyone else who has had a close relationship with the adopted child can ask for an assessment of their adoption support needs. The Adoption Support Team will look at what kind of support is needed and what can be done to help.

Support available for birth families 

  • Counselling, advice and information via the Adoption Support Team and / or independent agencies. If your child is currently being adopted through us, independent counselling is available.
  • Support with contact arrangements, whether direct or indirect (via a letterbox service). We also offer a mediation service if arrangements need to be changed or if there is a disagreement about contact.
  • Support groups: the Adoption Support Team can provide information about support groups for birth relatives.
  • Assessments for adoption support: assessments are carried out by the Adoption Support Team at the request of a birth relative. Please contact us by letter, phone or email.
  • For residents the Adoption Support Team also offers an intermediary service to support the relatives of adopted adults with whom they would like to make contact, and access to a tracing service.
  • Assistance if you do not wish to be traced or contacted by an adopted relative.

Further support

  • We subscribe to PAC-UK who provide services to all parties affected by adoption. Some services are free to Lewisham residents and Lewisham adopters.
  • Adoption UK support adoptive families before, during and after adoption, providing information and support events.


Adoption Support
First Floor
Laurence House
1 Catford Road
Se6 4ru
0800 587 7392


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