Couple desperate to adopt hit Catch 22 over house move

A couple say they are caught in a Catch 22 situation where they want to adopt a child – but cannot until they move into a bigger house.

Thomas Ellis and Sarah-Louise Ellis with her daughter Amelia-Janet
Thomas Ellis and Sarah-Louise Ellis with her daughter Amelia-Janet

However, Sarah-Louise and Thomas Ellis say they have also been told they cannot move until the adoption has gone through.

Miss Scobie has a seven-year-old daughter, named Amelia-Janet, but they want more children.

The couple, who live in Melrose Avenue, Stafford, say they have been told by Staffordshire County Council they need to move into a home with another room for the children while their landlord, Stafford and Rural Homes, have refused to let them move home until the adoption has gone through.

Both the county council and the social landlord have recognised it is a unique situation and have pledged to work with the couple.

Miss Scobie, who was trained as a nursery nurse, said: “We strongly feel we are being let down by the two agencies that should be working together to support us as a potentially adoptive family. What has made it even more depressing for us is that the adoption agency are putting advertisements in the local paper pleading for families to come forward and help adopt siblings yet when we have come forward and expressed our sincere interest they are saying there is nothing they can do to support us.

“Just because we can not afford to buy a big house doesn’t mean we should not be allowed to adopt.”

Karen Armitage, SARH chief executive, said: “Stafford and Rural Homes provides houses to help families live in accommodation that suits their needs.

“At SARH we are very supportive of families wishing to adopt but we have to balance that with meeting the needs of families who may already be overcrowded, or have other pressing housing needs too.

“We will, and do, work very hard with the family and the county council to find the best solution we can with the resources available.” Mark Sutton, cabinet member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said: “Our number one priority is always the welfare of the child and we will always put their best interest first.

“We would always ask that people coming forward to adopt have appropriate accommodation in place to meet a child’s/children’s needs before we would consider taking them forward for assessment.

“However, where there are specific barriers for people living in social housing who are considering adoption we would be happy to provide advice and support to help them discuss options with their housing provider. This would, of course apply, to Ms Scobie and Mr Ellis if they wished to get back in touch with us.”

He added: “We know that adoption really does transform the lives of those it touches and I would encourage anyone who has ever thought about adoption to get in touch.

“We’re particularly looking for families for sibling groups, but also for children of all ages, those with additional needs and children from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“If you’re looking to start or complete your family then adoption could be a great option for you.”

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