If you're thinking about applying to adopt, the first thing that you will need to do is to complete an enquiry form. To do this, you will need to register for a Children’s Services Online account so that you can send it to us (you will be guided through this when you complete the form).
If you're not able to use our Children’s Services Online system for any reason, please call us on 01603 638343. Once you have submitted your enquiry, we will send you an information pack within five working days.
We'll send you an invite to an information event through your new online account. You can reply to the invite using your account, too.
When you attend the information event you'll learn more about adoption and the process of becoming an adopter. If you decide that you want to continue with your application, we will ask for your permission to carry out the checks that are required, further on in the adoption process.
Using your online account, we'll send you a Registration of Interest Form. You will be able to complete this online, at your own pace. After you have submitted it, we may call you if we need additional information.
We'll make a decision to proceed to Stage 1 of the adoption process with you. If we decide not to proceed, we'll give you clear reasons why.
This stage usually lasts about two months and we'll allocate a social worker to support you through the process. During this process:
The home visit will help us to reach a decision about your application and whether we can take your offer forward. It usually lasts about two to three hours.
We tell you the outcome of the visit as soon as possible and we'll discuss any issues that may have arisen.
We'll ask you to attend adoption training days, if we recommend that you proceed after the home visit. Information will be sent to you and provisional dates for the training will be arranged.
The training covers everything and is invaluable in preparing you. There are a range of sessions on different issues, including:
You must attend all five days of training. If you are in a couple, both of you must attend.
During the adoption process you may be sent forms via your online account. If you need help with accessing or using your account, you can view our online account information guides.
This stage usually lasts about four months.
We'll allocate a social worker to:
If you have children, whether at home or living elsewhere, they will be involved in the assessment process. Adult children will also be contacted.
The adoption panel will:
If the panel thinks you are suitable, over the next six months we'll:
If the panel don't feel able to make a recommendation for approval, you will:
You can get further advice and information from First4Adoption website.