Guide: The adoption process

Adoption process

Stage 1 Pre-assessment

Checks, references and early stage learning

This stage is very much led by you and should take no more than two months to complete.

It is vital that take the opportunity to learn as much about the adoption process as possible – attending workshops events, a foundation workshop, e-learning and reading as much material as possible is a great way to do this.

It is essential for us to be sure that people coming forward to adopt will be committed to caring for the child. Enquiries, including criminal record and medical checks, must be made. Your doctor will be asked for a confidential medical report to so that we know that you are likely to be fit to care for a child through to adulthood. No checks will be made without your knowledge and consent.

1. Agreement, training, preparation and checks

Once we have accepted your registration of interest we will contact you to complete an Agency and Prospective Adopter agreement outlining how we will proceed and what you are responsible for in the upcoming weeks.

In this stage you will:

  • undertake and pay for a police background check through the Data and Barring Service (DBS)
  • provide and pay for a medical examination report
  • provide three personal references – we will interview each referee and make a written report of the interviews with them
  • begin an Adoption Portfolio – this will act as a record of all the learning, reading and thinking you have completed and will be very important and useful for stage 2 of this process
  • write a self-evaluation
  • attend a mandatory Foundation Workshop

More details can be found in our Information Pack (download it using the yellow box above).

2. Home visit (assessment)

When you have completed these steps in Stage 1, you will have a home visit from a social worker. At this home visit the social worker will check through the information given on the Registration of Interest form, the information from your medical and DBS checks, your references and your Adoption Portfolio. If everything is in order, your application will be formally accepted and you can progress to Stage 2.

3. Decision to proceed

If Devon Adoption decides to formally accept your application, on the basis of the information given, you will be allocated a Devon Adoption social worker who will work with you to complete an Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) form.

Your Devon Adoption social worker will also talk with you about your experiences so far and how you feel about the process. The assessment is a process that you and the Devon Adoption do together; it is not something that Devon Adoption does to you.

You must let us know if you wish to proceed to Stage 2 within six months.

Your Devon Adoption social worker will ask you to make yourselves available during the day for these to take place. They will need to meet all the people in your home and will ask to look around the property you live in.

They will discuss with you in general aspects of children who are waiting for permanent families and what you will offer a child. The social worker will also ask you about your health, any previous relationships, especially where children are involved and whether your background checks will be clear. You will also be asked about your support network and your financial circumstances.

We appreciate that the process can feel intrusive, and we aim to work with you in a way that is sensitive and considerate. We do need to know about your personal and family history as well as your experience of being looked after when you were younger, as these may influence how you might parent a child. We want to know about your experience of caring for children either voluntarily or through your work.

If we decide not to accept you onto Stage 2, you will be advised accordingly and given reasons why.

Why might you not progress?

Stage 1 is all about making sure both you and us are ready to move forward. It may be we just need further information to make our decision. If this is the case we will tell you what additional information we need.

In some circumstances these checks may show that you are unable to progress to Stage 2, for example, a serious offence on your record  which legally bars you from adopting a child.

If you do not agree with the decision, you should talk to your social worker who will let you know what your options are and how you can complain if you feel you have been treated unfairly.

If we do decide that you cannot progress you will be able to make a complaint through our Devon County Council complaints department.
Contact details:

All prospective adopters are provided with information about their options for making representations about any matter affecting their application. You can also raise any general concerns about the process with the National Gateway for Adoption – First4Adoption.

This is the end of Stage 1.

More details can be found in our Information Pack.

Download documentDevon Adoption process PDF download