So you want… adopt your child through the Local Authority

  • FosterWiki
  • Author:FosterWiki
  • Published:26/08/2021
  • Country: United Kingdom

Introduction on how to Adopt your child through the Local Authority

Many carers go on to adopt the children in their care, this is intended as a simple initial guide to how it works, what carers say
and who to go to for support.

How does it work?

It is essential to acknowledge that every Local Authority has its policies. This article outlines the process.

First Steps

  1. Talk to your Supervising social worker; they may also arrange for you to talk to the child’s social worker.
  2. You may wish to attend an adoption information evening.
  3. If you wish to proceed, you will complete a form to express your interest in adoption. Alternatively, if you wish to adopt a child in
    your care, you may write to the head of the service expressing your intent to adopt. Note, if you wish to start the process of adoption,
    it is best to do this at the point you have been told the child’s care plan is for adoption.
  4. Some LA’s will invite you for an “adoption day” to gather more information and for you to ask further questions.
  5. Then management will make a “decision to proceed” with the adoption process with you. If the decision is made not to proceed
    at this point, you will receive clear written reasons why.
  6. Some carers choose to pay for their own solicitors to manage the adoption process, we will soon be uploading a ‘So you want to’
    guide to this.

Stage One

This usually takes around two months, as an experienced foster carer, you could go straight to stage two:

  1. You will need to attend workshops covering;
    • Guidance to complete your written workshops
    • Learning the backgrounds of children and understanding the impact of trauma on children’s development.
    • ‘Early permanence’, also known as fostering for adoption, may be helpful if you intend to adopt siblings of the child you have in placement.
  2. At this stage, you will fill out a ‘further express your interest’ form, especially if you are adopting as a carer but not a child you
    have in placement.
  3. At this point you will be allocated a worker, this will be separate from your fostering workers.
  4. The worker will check your background checks and references are updated and arrange an adoption medical.
  5. You may attend a two-day training course for Adoptive Parents – this will ideally cover paediatric first aid and other skills for
  6. You may be invited to adopter network events, support groups and meet other adopters.
  7. At this point, your adoption worker will arrange a review and make a recommendation about your readiness to progress to stage
    two. If the decision is made not to proceed at this point, you will receive clear written reasons why you may choose at this stage to
    consult a solicitor.

Stage Two – usually takes around four months:

  1. You will be allocated an Adoption Social worker to;
    • Visit your home, discuss the process and agree on an assessment plan and sign a stage two agreement.
    • Continue to visit you at home a few times as well as visiting your references.
    • Write up a prospective adopters report and share it with you. You will have more than five days to comment on the report.
  2. You will attend another adoption training day.
  3. The adoption panel.
    • They will read your report.
    • Meet you and your social worker.
    • They will let you know their recommendation on the same day, then follow up in writing two weeks later.
    • They will share their decision with the agency decisionmaker, who will make a final decision regarding your approval.

    Following positive Panel Recommendations:

    • The service will add you to the adoption register.
    • Develop an agreement with you.
    • Match you to children that suit you and the skills you have; this may be a named child you already foster.
    • Invite you to an adoption order and celebration hearing.

    If the panel does not feel able to make a recommendation:

    • They will give you clear written reasons why.
    • The Agency decision maker (ADM) makes the final decision.
    • You have 40 days to request a review.
    • You may choose at this stage to consult and adopt via a solicitor.

What foster carers say

Information, help and support

Help and support created for foster carers, by foster carers, we are the experts by experience, we have the knowledge bank Created for foster carers by foster carers who are experts by experience. The first foster carers knowledge bank.

Please find our help and support page here.

Access both the open pages and members area. Both are free to access and footprint-free. The member’s area gives you privileged confidential access to FosterWiki’s experts by experience for advice and guidance. You will also find short courses and guides from the foster carer’s perspective, top tips, allegation help, templates, and the ability to add to FosterWiki. With more content being uploaded regularly.

Please let us know what information or advice pages you would find useful and we will put them in place.


FosterWiki’s book recommendation for adopting is written by Louise Allen’s and is called “How to adopt a child”. This is a no-nonsense real account of adopting a child in the UK and leaves no stone unturned, it is engaging and accessible.
It is available on Amazon at

Support Organisations

Action for Children – (formerly National Children’s Homes NCH) Provides Adoption support across England, Wales, Scot- land and Northern Ireland.
Email:[email protected]

Adopters for Adoption – Agency (England only) looking to have a positive impact on how adopters are supported in the adoption process.
Email: [email protected]

Adoption UK – Adoption UK is the leading charity providing support, community and advocacy for all those parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth parents, covering England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Very helpful resources and webinars on a range of subjects and arranges regional meet-ups/groups. Includes a helpful forum for disabled adopters.
Email: [email protected]

Barnardos – Dedicated adoption support services specialising in post-adoption support across the UK and helping others who are affected by adoption including birth families and adopted adults. Barnardo’s BASE (Barnardo’s Against Sexual Exploitation) campaign is a series of regional groups supporting children at risk of sexual exploitation.
Email: [email protected]

Carers Trust – charity for, with and about unpaid carers. The charity gives carers a voice and highlights their work to the general public. It also campaigns and works with politicians and policyholders to create real change for unpaid carers throughout the UK.
Email: [email protected]

Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies

Membership organisations for VAAs across all of the UK. Visit its website to find an agency near you. They also have a helpful listing of all relevant legislation around adoption for all countries in the UK.

CoramBAAF – CoramBAAF is an independent membership organisation for professionals, foster carers and adopters, and anyone else working with or looking after children in or from care, or adults who have been affected by adoption. It is a successor organisation to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).

First4adoption – First4Adoption is the national information service for people interested in adopting a child in England. It gives clear and impartial information about adopting and can put you in touch with adoption agencies in your area.

Netmums – Advice for all things parenting, including a comprehensive online forum.

NSPCC – Call the free NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or report any childcare/safeguarding concerns online.
Email: [email protected]

Social Work England – Regulatory organisation covering all social worker membership. You can raise a concern or formal complaint against social workers with this organisation.


Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999 (
The Adoption Agencies and Independent Review of Determinations (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (
Adoption and Children Act 2002 (
Adoption: national minimum standards – GOV.UK (
The Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 (
The Adoption Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2005 (
The Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 (
The Adoption Support Services Regulations 2005 (
What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child? | UNICEF (

Adopters Adoption Local Authority
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