Who can adopt
Adoption is open to anyone who can give a child the care they need.
You can adopt if you're:
- 25 or over (unless you're adopting a relative)
- in a civil partnership
- a parent already (either through birth or earlier adoption)
- an unmarried couple in a long relationship (you can apply to adopt together)
We do not discriminate on the grounds of:
- marital status
- income level
- whether you own your own home
- whether you have children or not
- ethnic origin
We may give priority to you if you can care for:
- older children
- children with a varied range of needs
- children with different cultural, ethnic or religious backgrounds and needs
We'll carefully consider how you can meet a child's needs and whether you match the ethnic and cultural background of the child, whilst making sure that the child is placed in a home as soon as possible.
Applying to adopt
Step 1: initial enquiry
If you are interested in adopting a child, you can email
email@example.com to say you would like to start the application process. You can also call +44 (0) 1534 443970 or visit us at Liberte House.
Once you've contacted us, we'll arrange to have a meeting with you. We'll also visit you in your home to find out more about you and answer any questions you have.
Step 2: pre-approval training
We'll offer you a place on the pre-approval training, where you'll learn about becoming an adoptive parent.
If you're still interested, you need to complete a formal application so we can carry out an assessment.
Step 3: the assessment process
The assessment process checks your suitability to become an adoptive parent. It usually takes 6 to 8 months to complete.
We will make regular visits to your home over this period and speak to you about your past experiences, how these have influenced you and the type of parent you want to be. We will also speak to your children living at home or away, close friends and family, and any ex-partners.
We'll carry out the following checks:
- criminal records check through the Disclosing and Barring Service (DBS)
- Social Services records
- health records
- NSPCC records
- Education Department records
- standard safety check on your home
- medical check
We'll also ask you to provide 6 referees who can comment on your ability to look after children.
Step 4: getting approved to adopt
After your assessment we prepare a report, which you can see and comment on. This report and your application is given to the independent Adoption Panel. They make a recommendation for your application. A senior manager in the Children's Service considers their recommendation and makes a decision about your approval.
Step 5: matching you with your child
When we're matching you with your child we have to follow this process:
- we make the match
- the match is presented to the Adoption Panel
- the Adoption Panel recommend whether to proceed with the match
- it's passed to the Agency Decision Maker to review and make the final decision
Step 6: your child moves in with you
Your child will move in with you after a planned period of introductions. Depending on the age and needs of your child, this introduction period can last for days or weeks.
Step 7: adoption is made legal
The Court cannot make an adoption order until the child has lived with you for at least 13 weeks.
They will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem who investigates and gives advice to them on the child's best interest. The Guardian Ad Litem advises if the order should be granted.
You and your child are invited to the adoption hearing where the adoption order is made.
Information about your child's background
We'll give you as much information as possible about your child's:
This information will help you to understand your child, and answer any questions about their past.
Support for adoptive parents
We provide support for at least 6 months after an adoption order, or longer if you need it.
Adoption support includes:
- information and advice
- signposting or referral to other professionals
- access to the post adoption support group