The adoption process

Post-adoption family cartoon
Step 1

Start the Process

Get in touch with SFCS via phone, email or at, or join us at one of our regular information events. You will receive our comprehensive adoption information pack.

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Step 2

Full Referral and Registration of Interest

If you are ready to proceed, a full referral is taken over the phone. We will then arrange to visit you to discuss your interest further and to do a Health & Safety check on your home. If you still wish to proceed, we will ask you to complete a Registration of Interest form. If, based on the information you provide us with, we feel unable to progress your application, the reasons will be fully explained to you.

Step 3

Meet Your Social Worker

On receipt of your Registration of Interest form, you will be allocated a social worker, who will contact you to discuss the next stage.

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Enter Stage 1 - References and Checks

Step 4

Let's Begin

When you are ready to proceed, you will be asked to sign the Stage 1 Agreement, which sets out the working relationship between you and SFCS.

Prospective adoptive parents playing cards cartoon
Step 5

Training Starts

During Stage 1, you will be invited to attend a Foundation Training session, which will introduce you to SFCS and the adoption process. If you don't already have the required childcare experience, you will need to make arrangements for volunteering with appropriate organisations in your local area. This will need to be in place by the end of Stage 1.

Step 6

Statutory Checks

Meanwhile, statutory checks will be carried out, including DBS checks, medicals and personal references.

Step 7

Ready for Stage 2?

Once the statutory checks have been completed, your social worker will establish with you whether you are ready to enter the next stage.

Stage 1 should be completed in 2 months, unless you require more time due to unforeseen circumstances. Please note that this time frame will also rely on your statutory checks being received by SCFS. Then it’s on to Stage 2.

Post-adoption girl with mother cartoon & smartphone

Enter Stage 2 - The Home Study Process

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Step 8

Training Continues

Stage 2 is an in-depth assessment to prepare you for the task of becoming an adoptive parent. During this time, you will be required to attend four full days of Preparation Training at SFCS. If you are part of a couple, you will both be required to attend the full course. During this assessment period, you will be asked to consider if you would like to adopt via the concurrency process.

Step 9


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Your social worker will visit you at home approximately six times. These visits will typically last two hours each, although this may vary. The discussions will focus on your current situation, your lifestyle, relationships, values, interests, hopes and expectations. We will reflect with you on your experience of growing up and of previous relationships. We will consider your knowledge of and experience with children. All this information will help us to assess your ability to parent an adoptive child.

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Step 10

Time to Review

A review of your homestudy preparation will usually be held by an adoption manager towards the end of your assessment. This is known as a Second Opinion visit. The completed assessment is referred to as the Prospective Adopter Report (PAR).

We aim to complete your assessment within four months of your application being accepted.

Step 11

Adoption Panel

If and when your assessment is complete, SFCS will decide whether to recommend your approval as adopters. If the assessment is positive, you and your social worker will present your PAR to the SFCS Adoption Panel.

Step 12

Decision Time

A recommendation is made by the Adoption Panel as to whether you are suitable to adopt, and the SFCS Decision Maker will make the final decision.

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If you are successful, the search
for the right child for you will begin