Steps to Adoption

On this page we explain everything you need to know about the two stage process of becoming an adoptive parent.

Did you know? The Government has introduced a new programme to reduce delay in the adoption process. The assessment is now in two stages and it can take as little as six months from enquiry to being approved. The time it takes for each application to be completed can vary due to individual circumstances and adopters can choose to slow down or pause their application if they want to.

Initial Enquiry 

You can make an initial enquiry by either speaking to one of our friendly Customer Service Officers, Lucy or Mo on 0115 876 3335 or submitting an enquiry form online.

You'll be sent a welcome pack explaining everything in more detail and we'll invite you to one of our monthly information evenings to find out more about the process. If you would like to proceed you'll need to complete and return a registration of interest form. There are a number of checks that we need to do at this point. We will consider your registration of interest and if you are accepted you will start stage one of a two stage process. We do not expect you to know everything at this stage but we do encourage applicants to find out as much as possible about adoption by doing their own research.

Stage 1 - Home Visit

An Adoption Social Worker will visit you in your home and will need to meet with all potential applicants. This takes place within one month of us receiving your form.

The aim of this visit is to gather information about your personal circumstances including your own experiences of childcare and your motivation to adopt and discuss any issues or questions you may have. You'll be invited to a half day training session to give your more information to help you decide if adoption is right for you and you wish to proceed to stage two. You'll also be given a reading list and encouraged to do some of your own research so that you can consider adoption in an informed way.

A report will be written after the visit followed by a decision on whether your application will proceed. If we are unable to proceed with your application, we will always write to you to explain why. The enquiry to decision stage should take around two months.

Stage 2 - Assessment

If your application is accepted we will then work with you to undertake your full assessment. This is commonly known as Home Study. A number of home visits will be undertaken and you'll attend training to support your application process.

We explore everything in depth at this stage which may feel intrusive but we must be sure that you are right to be adoptive parents. You must also be certain that adoption is the right choice for you and that you are equipped to make the placement a success.

A report describing your social worker's findings and recommendation will be presented to a Panel which you are encouraged to attend.

We aim to complete this part of the process in 12 weeks.


Once approved, we allocate an Adoption Support Social Worker who will support you through the matching and placement of any children.

Our dedicated Homefinding Team will immediately look to see if there are children waiting who may be a suitable match and you'll be invited to attend one of our matching evenings. They support newly approved adopters by identifying potential links to our children as early as possible. Once a match has been agreed with yourself and your social worker, you'll be invited to Adoption Panel again who will decide on whether to approve

Post Adoption Order

Once your final order is made in court the child/children legally becomes part of your family.

At this stage you are entitled to access support through our Post-Order Service.

Useful Resources

First For Adoption (F4A) has produced some e-learning modules to help prospective adopters. To view these visit: www.first4adoption.org.uk/firststeps

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