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Adoption and fostering

You may decide to start or grow your family by adopting or fostering a child, or you may already care for a child and wish to obtain legal responsibility or other security. Whatever your circumstances, we can provide you with clear and sensitive advice on your application, explain the processes involved and help you make an informed decision.

Who can adopt or foster a child?

In theory, anyone aged 21 or over who can provide a child with a secure, stable, loving and supportive home can adopt a child. You do not need to be a homeowner. You must be resident in the UK and not have been convicted for certain offences. You can adopt as an individual or as a couple.

Potential adopters are protected against discrimination, including race, sex, religion and sexual orientation.

In practice, not everyone who meets the basic requirements will be approved to adopt a child. The assessment process is long and thorough. It requires you to share information about all aspects of your life and the adoption agency will not leave any stone unturned.

To qualify for adoption, the child you wish to adopt must be under the age of 18 when the adoption application is submitted. They must also have never been married or in a civil partnership. Everyone who has legal parental responsibility for the child (usually the birth parents) must consent to the adoption.

In some circumstances, the court can decide a child can be adopted without the permission of their legal parents. This can happen if the court believes the child would be at risk if they were not adopted or the legal parents do not have the capacity to give consent.

Adopting a child you already care for

You may wish to adopt a child you already care for, for example a step-child or another relative. You do not need to go through the process of becoming an approved adopter, but you must receive consent from everyone who has legal parental responsibility for the child or ask the court to dispense with their consent.

Adopting a child through a UK adoption agency

The adoption agency you are working with will guide you through the adoption process. We can provide advice and guidance should you require it.

International adoption

If you are considering adopting a child from another country, the law is complex. The criteria for who can adopt varies from country to country and the UK has very strict rules. It is essential to seek specialist legal advice if you are considering this route to parenthood.


Becoming a foster parent

Another option for growing your family is to consider fostering, either short or long term. You can liaise with a fostering agency or your local authority for guidance and support throughout the process.

Contact an adoption and fostering solicitor

If you are considering adopting or fostering a child, our solicitors will provide you with clear and sensitive legal advice to help the process complete smoothly and as swiftly as possible. Request a consultation with our specialist team or contact us directly on 0800 422 0123.

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