Steps to adoption

If you’re ready to go ahead and start your application to become an adoptive parent then we’re as committed as you are to making the process as easy as possible.

We’ll do our best to make sure that it takes no longer than six months, which is a timescale set by the National Adoption Standards for England. While every application to adopt is treated individually, here’s an outline of what happens at each stage for everyone who begins the adoption process:

View or Download the Steps to Adoption Chart

Pre-Stage 1: (no time limit)

Information gathering
What you can expect during this stage:
• Initial Response from Adoption Service
• Information Sharing – by telephone call, visit to your home/Information evening
• Registration of Interest completed and returned to Adoption Service

Stage 1: (2 Months)

Initial checks
What you can expect during this stage:

  • Statutory checks, medicals, suitability
  • Working Agreement (expectations of yourselves and the adoption
    service) Service
  • Self-evaluation (your own learning)
  • Attending ‘Preparation’ groups

Moving on
At the end of Stage 1 we’ll let you know if you’re approved to move on to Stage 2 of the process. If you do wish to continue
your application to adopt, you’ll need to let us know formally – don’t worry, we’ll help you to get the right paperwork back
to us. We’ll also let you know that you can take up to 6 months [but no longer] to make your decision to take the next
step. We know there’s a lot to think about, so we understand if you need to take a break from the process right now.

Stage 2: (4 Months)

Training and assessment
What you can expect during this stage:

  • Assessment working agreement (expectations of prospective Adopters and Adoption Service)
  • Home Study – Social Worker visits to your home
  • Further Training Learning
  • PAR (Prospective Adopter Report) Approval Completion
  • Panel IRM (Independent Review Mechanism)

The Adoption Panel decision
At the end of Stage 2 we’ll present you with the report a copy of which will be submitted to an Adoption Panel – you’ll have
5 working days to get back to us with any comments you’d like to add to this report before it goes forward. You’ll also be
invited to attend the Adoption Panel meeting if you wish to. The panel will recommend if they feel you are suitable to
become an adoptive parent, and will recommendation will be passed on to Agency Decision Maker for Children’s Services.
If the panel recommends your approval, you’ll find out on the sa me day but it will be perhaps a week before you receive
the final decision required. If you’re not recommended as ‘suitable to adopt’ you’ll be given written reasons for this.

Stage 3

What you can expect during this stage:

  • Matching the right child with the right family
  • Adoption panel recommendation

Stage 4

What you can expect at this stage:

  • Initial meetings between you, the child and their foster parent
  • Home visits
  • Moving in
  • Adoption placement plan
  • Application for legal adoption