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Step-by-step process to adopting a child


Caring for children and young people is a special role and one that we need to be sure you are prepared for. Understandably, there are a number of steps in becoming an adoptive parent so that we can assess you and how you would care for a child to help make sure your adoptive family is safe and well matched.

Take the first step

If you're ready to take the first step to becoming an adoptive parent, let us know by filling in your details on our express your interest in adopting or fostering a child form so that we can contact you.

Once we've confirmed your details, we'll contact you to discuss adopting in more detail and if you've not already been, invite you along to one of our adoption information events. We will make an initial visit to your home to meet with you and your family, to explore whether adoption is right for you and whether the timing is right.

Two stages

Once you are ready to begin there are two stages to the adoption process, which should take about six months to complete. 

Stage one - initial preparation and training

  • Registration form - you'll be asked to complete a detailed application form which will help us begin your assessment.
  • Prepare to adopt course - you'll be invited to our course to help you find out more about adopting, the children who are waiting to find a family and how you can prepare for a child coming to live with you. Your friends and family will also be invited to a session so that they know how they can support you during the adoption.
  • Checks - initial checks will be carried out to make sure there are no concerns about you caring for a child. These include police, medical and personal references.

Stage two - assessment

  • Adoption assessment - you'll be assigned an adoption social worker who will work with you to complete your Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). They will visit you regularly to get to know you and assess your suitability to adopt. They will also help you prepare for a child coming to live with you.
  • Completing your assessment - your social worker will write up all of the information from your assessment and share the PAR report with you. You'll have a chance to make any comments.
  • Approval - once your PAR is complete, it will be presented to the Adoption Panel. This is a group of people who specialise in adoption, including an adopted person, an adoptive parent, a medical adviser and social services.
  • The panel will make a recommendation on your suitability as adoptive parent/s. Following this, our agency decision maker, a senior manager, will make the final decision to approve you as an adoptive family.

What happens next?

Once you have been approved as an adopter we'll start looking at matching you with a child either from our area or, nationally, through the National Adoption Register.

Once a match has been agreed you will be given information about the child, their background and medical history. If everyone is in agreement that it can proceed we will plan for the child to move in with your family. 

Your adoption social worker will continue to support you throughout, making sure you get the help and support that you need and identify any types of training that you might need to help you.

Contact us
  • Adoption
  • 03000 269 400
  • Our address is:
    • Durham County Council
    • Durham Resource Centre
    • Littleburn Business Centre
    • Langley Moor
    • County Durham
    • United Kingdom
    • DH7 8ET
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