WOULD-BE adopters can now access a new map showing the areas with the highest number of children waiting for new homes.

The map shows the number of children in each local authority waiting for a family to adopt them, showing potential adopters how many children are waiting in their area and elsewhere.

A new telephone information and advice service staffed by adopters is also open, contactable on 0300 222 0022, to help potential adopters navigate the process of adopting a child.

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The map is colour coded and shows that County Durham has the highest number of children waiting for new homes in the North-East (58 or over).

Elsewhere in the region Sunderland and Redcar and Cleveland have the next highest number of children waiting (33 to 57).

Stockton, Middlesbrough and North Yorkshire all have 18 to 32 children waiting while Darlington and Hartlepool have 17 or fewer waiting for adoption.