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Who can adopt

You are eligible to apply to adopt if:

  • you are domiciled or habitually resident in this country
  • you are over 21 years of age
  • you are single, married, divorced, living together or have formed a civil partnership
  • you have your own accommodation (rented or mortgaged) with a bedroom for a child
  • neither you nor an adult member of your household has been convicted or cautioned in respect of a specified offence

We set no upper age limit for adoption and we are flexible. Indeed, more mature applicants have much to offer and may already have considerable parenting skills. However, we would expect that all prospective adoptive parents have sufficient health and vigour to look after a child into adulthood and beyond.

We welcome applicants from all cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Wherever possible we try to place our children with adoptive families who share the same culture, ethnicity and religion.

You may be making preliminary enquiries about adoption whilst undergoing infertility treatment. If you are having any infertility investigations, treatment or counselling it is important that this is concluded before you make your application to us to be assessed as prospective adoptive parents.

This is because people need time to adjust to the possible news that they are unlikely to have children of their own, and should feel that they have had an opportunity to explore other avenues before moving on to think about adoption.

We have a responsibility to prioritise applications to ensure that we concentrate our resources on the task of finding adoptive families for children waiting for adoptive families – most likely to be older children, sibling groups and children with special needs. The statement of priority for the recruitment of adoptive families is included with this information pack.

If you are a smoker it is highly unlikely that we would place a child under the age of five with you or a child of any age with a chest or heart condition, as smoking is likely to damage their health and affect their well-being. We would expect that you had stopped smoking for at least a year before your application is presented to the adoption panel.

If you own a dog we will ask you to provide a behavioural assessment carried out at your expense by a recognised professional qualified in this area of work. This will be included in your prospective adopters report.