AN independent adoption agency has been rated outstanding by Ofsted.

DFW Adoption, based in Stonebridge, Durham, was given the rating for the fourth consecutive time following an inspection in May.

The charity is more than 100 years old and says recent years have been “difficult” because decreasing numbers of children needing adoptive families.

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Director Jenny Parkin said: “I am absolutely delighted that this lovely, small and friendly and really supportive adoption agency has received this superb recognition from the regulator for the high quality of their services.”

Inspectors praised an “exceptionally high standard of social work practice”, which it said was inclusive and well structured.

The agency specialises in matching harder to place children with suitable adoptive parents.