How do I adopt?

To become an adopter, you need to follow our adoption recruitment and approval process. Before you start your application, please visit our Who can adopt? page to ensure you are able to adopt with us.

The adoption recruitment process takes around six months and is carried out in two stages. Stage One is ‘adopter led and agency guided’ and is designed to allow potential adopters to learn about adoption. Stage Two is ‘agency led and adopter guided’ and we will assess your ability to become an adopter. We have a dedicated team of social workers to help you every step of the way.

If you are ready to start the adoption process, then you can start your application today online or by calling 01323 747154.

Assessment Criteria

There are five criteria that we will be assessing you on:

  • Caring for children: child care experience, knowledge of child development, ability to provide a good standard of care and meet the child's individual needs.
  • Providing a safe and caring environment: ability to provide a warm, safe and stimulating home and capacity to provide loving and attuned care
  • Working as part of a team: an ability to work with social workers, health, education and other professionals, to communicate effectively, keep information confidential and promote an anti-discriminatory approach to parenting.
  • Adoption as a life long process: an ability to meet a child's needs around their birth family and past history, and seek support.
  • Own development: an ability to understand your own past experiences, develop a support system and sustain relationships through periods of stress.

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The adoption process

Adoption assessment

Step 1

Make an enquiry – every new application starts with an enquiry. Please use or online application form or call 01323 747154.

Step 2

Pre Stage One – We will carry out an initial phone call at your convenience. You will be asked to come to an information session, which are held monthly. If adoption is right for you, you will be asked to fill in a Registration of Interest (ROI).

Step 3

Stage One – Initial training and preparation. Once we accept your ROI, Stage One of the assessment begins. We will meet for a Stage One Review and set out in writing for our decision about progressing to Stage Two. Stage One should take about two months.

Step 4

Stage Two – Adopter assessment. We will carry out your adopter assessment and produce a prospective adopter report. You will be asked to finish any outstanding training as required. We will then make a decision about your suitability to adopt. Stage Two should take about four months. Please note: we use these timescales as a guideline – the two stages can be extended or the process can be put on hold depending on the circumstances of each application.

Step 5

Panel – Your prospective adopter report will be shared with Adoption Panel. Panel will make a recommendation about whether to approve you as a prospective adopter.

Step 6

Approval – The recommendation is passed on to the agency decision maker, who will make the final decision to approve you as an adopter. This is done within five days of the adoption panel. The decision maker is a senior member of Children's Services.


Step 1

Matching – After you are approved as an adopter, we will start looking for children who might be suitable for you to adopt. This could be from Brighton & Hove, the surrounding area or other parts of the country.

Step 2

Placement – Once a suitable match is found and after an introductions process the child will move to your care. You will be supported and supervised as prospective adopters to the child until it is felt appropriate for you to make your application to court to adopt the child. The child has to have been in your care for a minimum of 10 weeks before applying.

Step 3

Adoption Order – If the court considers you are able to meet the child's needs, it will grant an Adoption Order. This will legally transfer parental responsibility from the child’s birth parents to you.

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