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How our adoption process works

Our adoption process usually takes around six months and you are supported by our friendly team at every step along the way.

Getting started

Hopefully you will have already had the chance to chat with us at one of our information sessions, or at a private appointment. If not, head to our adoption information events page or you can ask us a question about adoption with our handy online form.

Once you have all the information you need and would like to go ahead, we will arrange to meet with you in your home to talk through your circumstances and reasons for wanting to adopt with us. When everyone is happy that adoption is the right option, we can start the formal assessment process to approve you as an adopter with us.

Initial checks and registration

  1. Working closely with you, we will produce a plan that identifies roles and responsibilities and explores what adoption will mean for you and your family, at a pace that is right for you.
  2. 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.
  3. We will gather further information about you and your family which will help us begin your assessment.
  4. You will be registered for our adoption training and preparation course, which offers you the opportunity to meet experienced adopters and staff 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.

Working closely with you during this process, we will help you make an informed decision about whether you want to continue your assessment at this time.
This normally takes 2 months to complete, unless there are exceptional circumstances.


  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 and look at what type of child or children you would best be able to care for.
  2. Your social worker will talk to you about your feelings towards supporting your future adopted child. You will also need to think about your feelings towards your child's birth family, the reasons the child needs a new family, and how you would feel about potentially maintaining some level of contact between the child and their birth family.
  3. Your adoption social worker will work with you to complete a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR).
  4. 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 comments on the report.

The second stage of the adoption process should take 4 months, unless there are exceptional circumstances.


  1. Approval - once your PAR is complete, it will be presented to the Adoption Panel - the panel is made up of an adopted person adoption experts and experienced adopters and is independent of the council. It is their job to make a judgement on your suitability to be an adoptive parent.
  2. The panel will make a recommendation on your suitability as adoptive parent/s. Following this, our decision maker, a senior manager, who 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
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