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Criteria for adopting children

The Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations 2009 stipulate that each adoption agency must publish the criteria which an application will be accepted by a person/s wishing to adopt.


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


Applications will be accepted from:

  • Single applicants
  • Married couples
  • Couples who have been living together in an enduring relationship for at least two years
  • Civil partnership couples


  • Applications will be accepted from enquirers both with or without children
  • Applications will not be accepted from enquirers currently undergoing any form of infertility treatment or who are on a waiting list for treatment
  • Enquirers should also be able to acknowledge their loss of a birth child and the longer term implications of this


  • 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
  • If children over the age of 5 years are placed, applicants will be expected to provide smoke free areas in their home, and not to smoke in front of children placed

Preparatory groups

  • Enquirers must attend preparatory groups prior to making a formal application.  Groups are usually held in Hamilton

Ethnic origin, cultural background, language and religion

  • Applications are welcome from all sections of the community

Birth family contact

  • Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to sharing appropriate information about the child's birth family and the circumstances of the adoption with the child throughout his/her childhood and thereafter
  • Applicants must be prepared to meet with birth family members if requested to do so
  • Applicants must be prepared, if requested, to offer indirect contact to significant birth family members via the department.  For example, this might be an annual letter or photograph

Local authority, health and employment, police checks, financial references

  • All applicants and other members of their household over the age of 16 will be subject to local authority, health and Disclosure Scotland checks
  • All applicants will require to give their written permission to the Agency Medical Adviser seeking information and reports from any health professional who has had contact with the applicants
  • Contact will also be made with previous partner(s)
  • References will be sought from your employer(s) and relevant previous employer(s)

Changes in circumstances

  • If a pregnancy occurs, the application will be temporarily withdrawn until the outcome of the pregnancy is known
  • If an applicant's circumstances change significantly during the course of the assessment process, advice may be sought at an early stage from the Adoption Panel
  • If the application has been accepted but false information has been given or information has knowingly been withheld then this will also be presented to the Adoption Panel