Your initial enquiry
When you contact us to make an initial enquiry we’ll send you an information pack and invite you to an informal session where you can meet social workers from the adoption team and learn more about the adoption process.
At this meeting you can register your interest in adopting a child and the process can begin.
Stage one of the adoption process
Once you have registered your interest, you will be invited to join a preparation group where you’ll learn more about the children currently looking for families and the type of parenting they need.
We will ask you to develop your own learning about adoption and adopted children and we may ask you to experience childcare through a voluntary work placement. We will also complete all the required checks and references.
Checks and references
We ask for the following references:
- Three personal references, one of which must be from a family member.
- References from ex-partners.
- If you are or have worked or volunteered with vulnerable children or adults, we’ll request a reference from that time.
We ask for the following checks:
- A medical check by your GP.
- A check from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
You will also be asked to complete a self-assessment form which helps us determine your suitability. Once all checks, references and the self-assessment form have been completed we will let you know if you are ready to move to stage two.
Stage one should take approximately two months to complete.
Stage two of the adoption process
A social worker from the adoption team will visit you at home and begin to compile a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). A PAR gives a detailed assessment of you, your background, your lifestyle, your existing family and the type of adoptive family you hope to become part of.
The adoption panel
You will then meet the Adoption Panel with the social worker who wrote the PAR. This meeting usually takes place within three months of the PAR being completed and within six months after your initial enquiry.
The adoption panel is made up of professionals and people with experience of adoption including adoptive parents, people who have been adopted, social workers, health professionals, along with a legal and medical adviser.
The panel will consider the PAR as well as hear from you and your social worker and will give a recommendation. This recommendation will be agreed by the Agency Decision Maker.
Linking and matching with children
When you are approved, we’ll match you to a child using the information in your PAR. Most children will be from the region but some are found via the National Adoption Register or other agencies.
When a child is placed with you, we’ll visit you and provide any support you need. Once your child has lived with you for more than 10 weeks, we will help you to make an application for an adoption order providing it is the right time.
Your supporting social worker and the child’s social worker will complete a report to the court to support your application.
It can take up to eight weeks for the court to hold a final hearing when they make their decision. Once the adoption order is in place you and your child or children legally become a family.