We are looking for families from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds who can offer a permanent loving home and a secure environment to a child.
All kinds of people can adopt regardless of marital status, disability, gender, religion or sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter if you own your own home or whether you have had children or not. We are just asking for you to be able to provide a safe and loving home for one of these many children.
Here we answer some of the questions we are asked most often about who is eligible to adopt and answer some of the common Myths of Adoption.
Are you eligible to adopt? Check with the answers to our most common frequently asked questions
Those deciding to adopt can choose between adopting via their Regional Adoption Agency/local authority or via an independent, Voluntary Adoption Agency like Families for Children. We would encourage prospective adopters to research both routes in determining what is right Agency would be right for them. Each agency will have a particular offer in terms of how they provide adoption support. The process and guidelines are set by government and are the same for both, although there are some differences that you should be aware of. The main distinction is that local authorities have a number of children in their care whom they are looking to place with adopters. A voluntary adoption agency, like FFC, trains, assesses and approves adopters and then finds children for these adopters from Local Authorities across the country and are not limited by geography. The Local Authority adoption team will in the first instance look at the children in their care and then if there isn’t a suitable match, will look to other agencies.
We are based in Devon but welcome enquiries from those considering adopting who live in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset (including Bournemouth and Poole) and the Isles of Scilly. If you are unsure whether you fall within our catchment or not then just give us a call on 01364 645480 or email email@example.com. To find the nearest VAA near you please visit https://cvaa.org.uk
Families for Children are looking for prospective adopters who would consider adopting the ‘Children who wait the longest’ or priority children. These include sibling groups (where brothers and sisters need to be adopted together), children from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and children with varying degrees of additional needs.
Many of the children we place for adoption are vulnerable and have complex needs resulting from early childhood traumatic experiences, including abuse and neglect. They may have had many moves and been cared for by different people and this will have affected their ability to make secure attachments. Whilst most children will settle down with the security and love offered by adoption, they will always carry some effects of their early experiences which require adopters understanding and management in a meaningful and mindful way.
The minimum age for adopters is 21 years and there is no upper age limit, however your general health, fitness and emotional wellbeing will be explored regardless of your age.
You can own your own home or live-in rented accommodation, but it is expected that you will have a spare bedroom for the adopted child when applying to adopt. Most Local Authorities will expect a child to have their own room and will not consider matching a child to a family without this criterion being met.
It is advised that a person is smoke free for at least 6 months prior to making an application. People are not deemed non-smokers until they have stopped for 12 months. Whilst Statutory Guidance on Adoption says there is no legal reason why a child cannot be matched with a prospective adopter who smokes, there is significant evidence to suggest that it is not in the interest of a child to live in a household where an adult smokes and this is carefully considered by Local Authorities when placing a child.
If a person is wishing to adopt a child under 5 or a child with a particular medical condition, they will need to be smoke free for 6 months prior to making an application. For very young children and toddlers, exposure to smoking is considered a high risk to their health. Exposure to smoking is also considered a high risk to children with respiratory problems and all children with heart disease or glue ear should not be placed with smoking families. Children should not be exposed to the impact of passive smoking.
Prospective adopters are encouraged to access services through their GP to obtain support to stop smoking/vaping and to have a record of the date they sought support.
All carers will be encouraged to implement a smoke-free home and car. It is illegal for a person to smoke in a car when there is a child present.
Recent research suggests that e-cigarettes and vaping are as dangerous as smoking. If adopters or other family members use e-cigarettes or vaping, they are advised to do so away from the family home and not when children are present.
Some convictions that you or a member or your household have will exclude you from being eligible to adopt, these include convictions or cautions for offences against children or vulnerable adults, and serious sexual offences. Other criminal offences will not automatically exclude you but will be taken into consideration during the assessment process, so please be open with your adoption agency from the start.
Applications are accepted from UK and non-UK citizens, however you need to have been residing in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 12 and have right to remain in the UK. UK citizens living abroad cannot adopt a child from the UK. We will ask you to plan to reside in the UK for the foreseeable future.
More about intercountry adoption can be found on the Intercountry Adoption Centre (IAC) website.
Those applying to adopt may have debts but so long as these are understood and repayments can be managed alongside living expenses then this shouldn’t be a problem.
We would encourage adopters to have considered how they will manage financially whilst taking time off work.
It is possible to adopt and be in receipt of unemployment benefits or other benefits. There would need to be evidence of a stable lifestyle and the ability to manage on the income coming into the household.
Openness and honesty about financial pressures is encouraged right from the outset of your application.
Prospective adopters who have undergone fertility tests/treatment will be expected to have completed this a minimum of 6 months since completing the tests before an we can accept an application to adopt.
This is because it is important for prospective adopters to have accepted their infertility and grieved before moving on to start the adoption process. We know that undertaking fertility treatment can be stressful and difficult and there are not always the support services around it to help you process the emotional side of the interventions. We would suggest that you need some time post your last IVF treatment to fully understand your emotional response to what has happened as well as some physical recovery time. Counselling can be helpful, talking to others likewise. If you are adopting as a couple, you BOTH probably need some “grieving” time.
Applicants will be required to have a full medical and undergo any further tests/checks that may be required by the Medical Adviser. The Medical Adviser will advise on the applicants' ability, from a health point of view, to meet the needs of a child throughout their childhood.
Many people experience occasional bouts of stress, depression or anxiety. Some of these may be linked to a traumatic experience such as bereavement or relationship breakdown, or stress at work, for others it may be a more regular occurrence not linked to anything specific. Whatever the reasons the key when it comes to adoption is around how it affects you, and how you have dealt with it, or continue to deal with it. Poor mental health does not automatically rule a person out but the concerns will need to be fully discussed and the impact for a child assessed. Be upfront with the Social Worker and discuss what this has meant for you.
The focus for Families for Children will always be to assess your ability to meet a child’s needs in a consistent way and to consider how the stress of adopting a child will affect your health.
Those wishing to apply to adopt will need to demonstrate that they have accessible and established local support networks of family and friends who will be in a position to provide support with parenting.
We welcome enquiries and applications from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender adopters.
At Families for Children we have a wealth of experience in assessing LGBTQ+ adopters and recognise the strengths and skills that you bring in meeting the needs of children waiting for families.
Click here to find out more about LGBTQ+ Adoption
You can be married, in a civil partnership, living together or single to apply to adopt. We would expect that if you are in a relationship that you have lived together for at least 2 year at point of application and for there to be evidence that it is a stable and enduring relationship.