East London boroughs take part in adoption agency launched by Fame Academy TV presenters Carrie and David Grant

Robert South, Havering's director of children's services & Belinda Bhatti, team manager, Havering's

Robert South, Havering's director of children's services & Belinda Bhatti, team manager, Havering's Children's Services, Sue May head of service, join Carrie & David Grant at the Adopt London launch. Picture: Havering Council - Credit: Archant

A new adoption agency which brings together 23 London boroughs including Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Tower Hamlets has been launched by two TV presenters.

Celebrity couple Carrie and David Grant, who have an adopted son, helped to launch Adopt London at the Assembly Halls in Islington on March 3.

Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Tower Hamlets will form part of the east London branch of the agency.

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

Carrie and David, who are known as judges on the talent show Fame Academy, delivered a keynote speech at the opening 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 said: 'Raising children with additional needs has been both challenging and fantastic.

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'We've learned so much as family and we feel privileged to have been able to adopt a child.

'We'd encourage people to seriously think about adoption and how they could make a difference to a child's life.'

The presenters also met staff members of Adopt London who look to work effectively to make a difference for children and families across the boroughs.

Havering 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 wellbeing and giving them that chance to be part of a loving family.'

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