Child adoption

To be adopted, a child must:  

  • be under the age of 18 when the adoption application is made 

  • not be (or have never been) married or in a civil partnership 

The child’s birth parents  

Both birth parents normally have to agree (consent) to the adoption, unless: 

  • they cannot be found 

  • they are incapable of giving consent, for example due to a mental disability 

  • the child would be put at risk if they were not adopted  

Who can adopt a child 

You may be able to adopt a child if you are aged 21 or over (there is no upper age limit) and either: 

  • single 

  • married 

  • in a civil partnership 

  • an unmarried couple (same sex and opposite sex) 

  • the partner of the child’s parent 

There are different rules for private adoptions and adoptions of looked-after children. 

Living in the UK 

You do not have to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but: 

  • you (or your partner, if you are a couple) must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man 

  • you (and your partner, if you are a couple) must have lived in the UK for at least one year before you begin the application process 

Adoption Support Fund 

You may be able to get funding from the Adoption Support Fund (external link). It provides money for therapy for children and families to help improve relationships, confidence and behaviour. Your social worker can apply for you. If you are not happy with how the social worker has handled the application, complain to the council. If you are not happy with the council’s response, contact the Adoption Support Fund team. Adoption Support Fund team, tel: 01223 463517. 

See also: