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Adoption is a service for children who are unable to be cared for within their birth families. The legal process removes them from local authority care, and enables children to become a permanent member of a family life. 

You can watch this film which features a couple and their adopted son to give you an insight into what it is like and the benefits that giving a child a loving family can provide.

Who can adopt

We welcome enquiries from single people, families who have children of their own, or do not, married couples, civil partnership couples or couples who have been living together in an enduring relationship for at least two years.

All applicants must be over 21 years old and should be able to parent a child until they reach age of independence. There should not normally be an age gap of more than 45 years between the children and younger applicant.

Applications will not be accepted from enquirers currently undergoing any form of infertility treatment or who are on a waiting list for treatment.

Applications will not be accepted from smokers who wish to adopt children under the age of 5 years, or children with respiratory problems, or disabilities. Applicants will be expected to provide smoke free areas in their home, and not to smoke in front of children placed who are over the age of 5.

What's involved

Initial enquiry

The first point of contact is usually by email or telephone to the Family Placement Team on 0303 123 1008 or email or you can request to have an information pack sent to you.

Initial interview

When we receive your enquiry form a social worker will get in touch with you to arrange a home visit. We will discuss your current circumstances and your motivation to adopt and any questions you may have to help you decide if you wish to take your enquiry further. The next step is to attend the preparatory groups.

Preparatory groups

Before making a formal application, you will be invited to attend preparatory groups. This is to develop your understanding of the needs of children who are up for adoption and help you to decide if adoption is for you.

Preparatory groups are held throughout the year and are run by the Family Placement Team with contributions from a medical adviser, an origins counsellor and an adoptive parent.


A social worker from the Family Placement Team will be allocated to do your assessment and will complete a report called a Form F which will be shared with you. The social worker will visit you at home, generally six to eight times to meet you and collect information about all members of your household and your experiences and skills in relation to adoption.

The assessment generally takes around six months to complete.


As part of the assessments all applicants will be subject to local authority, health and Disclosure Scotland checks. Disclosure Scotland checks will be obtained on all members of your household aged 16 years and over. Contact will also be made with previous partner(s) and employers. Six references are requested (two from family members and four from friends) and three of the referees will be visited.

On completion of your Form F the assessing worker's manager will visit you at home with your worker to discuss your application, prior to this being presented to the Adoption Panel. The manager will provide a second opinion report which you will have access to.


You will be invited to attend the Adoption Panel along with your social worker and will receive a leaflet explaining the role of the Panel before you attend. The Panel will have read the Form F report and will make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker. You will be told their decision on the day and you will then receive a letter from the Agency Decision Maker, outlining his decision within 21 days of the Adoption Panel.


Financial help may be available to support an adoptive placement. Your social worker will be able to give you more information about this.

All adoptive families are offered individual and/or group support after approval.

Origins counselling

The Family Placement Team has an Origins Counsellor who will offer support and advice to anyone affected by adoption.

At the point of a child being placed with you, an adoption support plan will have been completed - this will highlight areas of need and any support required to meet those needs now and in the future.

Adopting from abroad

If you want to be assessed to adopt a child from overseas, the same process as described above is applicable. We charge for this service. We will discuss this with you at your initial enquiry.

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Family Placement Team

Phone: 0303 123 1008
Email: Family Placement Team