Adopting a child

Becoming the legal guardians for children who can no longer live with their birth parents

Everyday Heroes

What is adoption and why is it important?

We have children in our care, many of whom have already spent time with temporary foster carers, who now need the security and stability of an adoptive family home.  Children of all ages can require to be placed for adoption and where possible we will place brothers and sisters in the same home.  Where this is not possible we make plans for them to keep in touch with each other.

The child's journey to adoption may have been difficult and this can affect their behaviour, health and emotional well being. Many people may find this a challenge but our support team can help guide you through the challenges to reap the many rewards that the experience of adopting can offer.

What will we ask from you?

You must be over 21, and applications to adopt a child age 0-2 years will only be accepted where the youngest partner is no older than 39 ½ years. There is no upper age limit for children over 2 but your age should be appropriate to the age and needs of the child you hope to adopt.

An application to adopt will be accepted from you if you are single, married, part of a civil partnership, living together, or in a same sex relationship. It remains our requirement that couples have lived together for at least two years in an enduring family relationship before enquiring about adoption.

Adopting children can be challenging physically, mentally and emotionally.  In recognition of this, adopters need to be fit and healthy.  The health and lifestyle of applicants is given careful consideration when an enquiry is made.

No child under the age of five years will be placed in a household where anyone is a smoker.  Our requirement is that you must have stopped smoking for a year before you can be approved as an adopter.

We are sorry that we cannot accept an application if you are waiting for or undergoing fertility treatment.  Adoption is an emotive process and we ask that you wait six months after completing fertility treatment before enquiring about adoption.

As an adopter, you are the child's second family and this might mean maintaining links with the child's birth family.  Through this you will help the child to grow up knowing they are adopted and have a birth family they may wish to meet in the future. You should note that there could be legal uncertainties up to the point of the adoption being granted in Court.

If you make an enquiry about adopting, a member of our Children's Carers Team will visit you to find out more about you and provide details about preparatory groups and the assessment process.  The assessment is carried out using a competency based approach which allows you to demonstrate your existing skills and knowledge.

The assessment includes:

  • Visits to your home
  • Individual interviews
  • Statutory checks including health and police
  • References from people who know you including a family member
  • References from any significant partner and a reference from an employer where appropriate

What support will you receive?

As an approved adopter you can expect to be supported by a member of the Children's Carers' Team who will guide and support you through your adoption journey.  We will provide training, support and advice at each stage of your adoption journey.

Adoptive parents will usually themselves meet the costs of legal expenses to adopt a child.  When we are considering placing a child with you for adoption you should contact a solicitor at the earliest opportunity to make enquiries about adoption and the costs involved.  An adoption that is not contested is likely to cost around £1,200.  We may be able to assist with legal costs in some cases and will always consider this when the adoption is contested.  We will discuss legal costs with you during the process.

Every child placed for adoption will have an Adoption Support Plan tailored to their individual needs.  In some circumstances we will consider the payment of an adoption allowance following the placement of a child.  This is a payment that we make to cover the costs of caring for a child who is part of a large sibling group or a child whose needs require extra expenditure.  We will discuss adoption allowances with you during the process.

Overseas adoption

If you wish to be considered for adopting a child from overseas we will charge you for the work that we do in connection with this.  We will discuss this charge with you during the process.

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