Adoption Service

The Northern Trust is an Adoption Agency and as such has a statutory to provide a comprehensive adoption service to meet the needs of children who have been adopted, parents of such children and persons who have adopted a child or wish to adopt a child.

Adoption is the legal process by which a child or children become full time, permanent and legal members of a new family. Following the granting of an Adoption Order, this new family has full parental rights and responsibilities for the adopted child.

The process of adoption involves extensive preparation and assessment by specially trained social workers, matching and placing of children as recommended by the Adoption Panel and final decision made by the Adoption Decision Maker.

Below are further details about the different teams involved in the Adoption Process.

Family Placement Teams
There are four family placement teams within the Northern Trust area. The Family Placement Team provides an extensive service to families who are considering becoming adoptive parents, birth parents who are considering adoption or adults who have been adopted, including:

  • Preparation Training for all persons who are considering adoption
  • Undertaking assessments and providing completed comprehensive reports of prospective adoptive parents to the Adoption Panel for approval
  • Ongoing training and support for adoptive parents
  • Preparation and placement of children within their new adoptive family
  • Support and guidance to individuals who have previously been adopted and wish to trace their birth relatives
  • Counselling to birth parents who are considering placing their child for adoption
  • Working closely with relevant teams and agencies to provide best support to adoptive and birth families

Ballymena Family Placement Team
Raphael House
11b Fenaghy Road
BT42 1HW
Tel: 028 2563 5110

Carrickfergus Family Placement Team
Ellis Street
Family Resource Centre
BT38 8AZ
Tel: 028 9331 5111

Coleraine/Ballymoney Family Placement Team
Route House
Route Complex
BT53 6BP
Tel: 028 2766 1521

Magherafelt Family Placement Team
Children’s Services
Sperrin House
BT45 6BY
Tel: 028 7936 6840

Intercountry Adoption
The Northern Trust offers a range of services to prospective and approved adoptive parents in relation to intercountry adoption.

A number of people in Northern Ireland choose to adopt from overseas. The process is similar to that involved in a domestic adoption however there are additional requirements depending on the country from which the child originates. The assessment/homestudy will also be expected to cover the cultural issues that arise for a child who is adopted from overseas

There are costs involved in an intercountry adoption that the adopter(s) are personally responsible for.

The Northern Trust also provides a support service to families returning to Northern Ireland with their adopted child and completes post adoption reports required by the originating country.

If you live in the Northern Trust area and are considering adopting a child from overseas please contact the Regional Intercountry Adoption Assessment Service (RIAAS) on 02894488285. You can also access information on the regional adoption and fostering website.

Adoption Support Team
The Northern Trust’s Adoption Support Team provides an on-going support service to all those affected by adoption within the Trust area.

This includes:

  • Providing information and support to children, birth relatives and adoptive families prior to and following the granting of an Adoption Order.
  • Working with birth and adoptive families to develop and agree upon post adoption contact arrangements
  • Arranging, monitoring and reviewing post adoption face-to-face and letterbox contact arrangements
  • Provide support and information in relation to Adoption Allowance payments
  • Working closely with social work teams involved in the adoption process
  • Direct work with children and adoptive families requiring extra support in relation to their experience of adoption – this may include guidance to school, lifestory work or parenting techniques
  • Referral to support and counselling services for those affected by adoption, when necessary

The Adoption Support Team is based in Antrim and is available Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Contact details:
Adoption Support Team
Unit 3
Springfarm Industrial Estate
Ballymena Road
BT41 4NT
Tel: 028 9448 8285

Further information regarding adoption can be found on the Regional Adoption and Fostering website:  

Page last updated:10 March 2017