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How our adoption process works

Before you can adopt a child there are a few steps you need to go through to make sure it is right for both you and the child.

Getting started

If you're ready to start the adoption process:

  1. Fill in your details on our adoption general enquiry form so that we can contact you.
  2. Attend one of our adoption information events. Don't worry if you can't attend - you can still start the adoption process!
  3. We will then visit you at home to meet with you and your family, and explore whether adoption is right for you.

Preparation and training

Once we are happy that you are ready to adopt:

  1. We will gather further information about you and your family which will help us begin your assessment.
  2. You will need to attend our 'prepare to adopt' course which will 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.
  3. We will carry out initial checks to make sure there are no concerns about you caring for a child. These include police, medical and personal references.



  1. We will assign you an adoption social worker. They will visit you regularly to get to know you and assess your suitability to adopt.
  2. Your adoption social worker will help you complete a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR).
  3. They will also help you prepare for a child coming to live with you.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
03000 269 400
Our address is:
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • Spectrum 8
  • Spectrum Business Park
  • Seaham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • SR7 7TT
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