There are two stages that make up the assessment process to become an approved adopter.
We’re going to be talking about the first part of your adoption journey and answering the questions: What happens in Stage One of the adoption process and how long does it take?

What happens during Stage One of the adoption process?

Stage One – This consists of a range of references and background checks. These checks will help in the decision of whether adoption is the right path for you. We’ll encourage you to explore why you want to adopt and what you can offer to a child looking for adoption. In addition to the checks and references, you’ll also undertake the training to become an approved adopter.

You’ll also be allocated a social worker, who will arrange to meet you at your home. They will support you throughout the process and will help you when you’re ready to become an adoptive parent.

Throughout Stage One, your social worker will visit you two or three times. They’ll help you review your reasons for wanting to adopt, assess your finances and household and answer any questions you may have. Your social worker is responsible for ensuring you’re ready to adopt a child. This includes reviewing your networks of support and interviewing your personal and family referees.

What references and background checks do adoption agencies do?

Adopting a child is a life-changing experience and the decision to adopt a child requires a lot of consideration. To help you make the right decision, we’ll ask you to provide information around your family and family background, provide a list of personal referees, share with us your experiences in caring for children, (which you can build on as you go through the assessment process) and to complete relevant Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and medical checks.

All of this information will help us to decide whether we can invite you to Stage Two of the adoption process. If you do move forward to Stage Two, the information gathered in Stage One will contribute to the final report known as your Prospective Adopters’ Report (PAR). This report helps our adoption panel to determine whether you will be suitable to adopt.

What preparation training is provided?

At this point in the process, you will be invited to a 3-day training course, where you will get to meet other prospective adopters and be given information about the adoption process and what is expected and required from our adopters.

During the three days, you will be given an opportunity to meet and talk with people who have adopted. We recommend you use this opportunity to ask questions that will help you determine if adoption is right for you and to help you learn more about the children needing adoption.

How long does Stage One take?

Prior to Stage One, prospective adopters would have been provided with a copy of the Registration of Interest (ROI) form. You’ll be asked to submit the form as soon as possible. Once received and we have checked that the form is complete, we will make a decision to accept your ROI, or decline your application, and we will inform you of our decision within 5 working days. At Adopters for Adoption, when we accept your application, we also send you a pack that will include confirmation of acceptance and details on what to do next. This will include how to start relevant DBS and medical checks.

How to speed up the process

At the end of Stage One, your social worker will put together a Stage One Report that covers everything that has been completed so far. A copy of this report (without the references which are provided confidentially), is sent to you to read through. If you are happy with everything we ask you to sign and return it to the agency. The report will include whether we’re recommending you to proceed to the next stage and the reasons behind our decision.

We aim to complete your Stage One pre-assessment in two months. If you feel that the process is moving too quickly, please let us know. When you have completed Stage One, you can request a break of up to six months before starting Stage Two. This break won’t require you to start the process again. This can be used to relieve pressure or give you more time to think about adopting.

Before starting your application to adopt, we recommend you read about the adoption process to help you understand how long the entire process takes and what to expect after Stage One.

What’s next?

If you have any questions about the process, check out our FAQs, download our information pack or get in touch with us. You can call us on 0800 5877 791 or email