Who can adopt

Essential requirements

Aged 21 years and over

If you’re adopting as a couple, you must both be over 21. There’s no upper age limit.


We are looking to talk to individuals who can provide a home for a child that can provide security and stability. We operate under the legal framework that 21 is the minimum age someone can consider adopting.

You’ll either need to be a parent/carer already or have childcare experience in a voluntary or professional capacity. Please do not worry if you don’t have childcare experience, as we can support you in getting this. You are still welcome to come to our Adoption Information Session and following this our Recruitment Team can advise you on how to gain childcare experience.


Children need their own space, you will need a spare bedroom for your child. We will consider siblings sharing a bedroom.


Things that won’t prevent you from adopting

We’ll look at all aspects of your home life and circumstances as part of your assessment process. Call us to discuss your individual circumstances further on 0300 300 0011.

Adopters who are single

We always welcome applications from single people as well as couples.


We wholeheartedly support cultural and gender diversity, married or unmarried couples, or couples in civil partnerships.


Many parents have work commitments. You just need to think carefully about how you are going to care for a child during and around your working hours. The main carer should take at least six months adoption leave after a child moves in to help them settle into their new family life.


We consider people of all abilities who have the capacity to meet a child's needs and offer them a fulfilling and active lifestyle.


Experienced parents often have a lot to offer. Bear in mind though, the wishes and feelings of your child and ensure that adoption is right for them too; this will be part of your family’s assessment. We’ll also consider the ages of any children you have compared to the ages of those who you’ll adopt.


We welcome families with pets; they’ll be included as part of your assessment process.


Things we’ll need to consider

There are some things we’ll need to look at in detail to make sure you’re ready.

A criminal record

It depends on what the conviction was for and when the offence was committed; we’ll discuss any convictions during your application. You and anyone who lives with you will take a Disclosure and Barring Service check with the police as part of the application process.


We want to be certain that you’re secure financially. We’ll look at your financial situation as part of the assessment process. Remember you need to meet the general costs of having a child and being a parent on top of rent or mortgage payments, any outstanding loan or debt repayments and your standard living costs.


Mental health support and treatment covers a wide spectrum of issues and circumstances, so we look at your situation on an individual basis.


It can take time to come to terms with bad news. If you’ve recently received treatment that wasn’t successful or have had a miscarriage, we’ll need to discuss it with you to be sure you’re ready to start the adoption process. We look at each situation on an individual basis, though many people need a reasonable period of time for reflection after ending fertility treatment and adjusted to adoption instead.


We need you to have given up smoking for at least 8 months before you can start Stage 1 of the adoption process. However, you are still welcome to attend our any of our Adoption Information Session which anyone can attend. To book on call 0300 3000 011.

If you smoke tobacco or vape, you won’t be able to adopt any child aged under five or a child of any age who has any health conditions or disabilities.

For children over five years, you will be expected to smoke outside and away from children. However, we would prefer that children are not subjected to second hand smoke or e-cigarette fumes.

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