Pre-assessment process (stage 1)

Stage 1 takes two months to complete. It starts when we accept your registration of interest form, which includes your consent for us to undertake statutory checks and personal references. We’ll allocate a specialist adoption social worker to visit and support you.

Stage 1 checks

These include Disclosure and Barring Service, NSPCC, probation, and social care records from the councils where you’ve lived. We’ll contact them all and ask to check their records.

You’ll need to have an adoption medical at your own GP and the results of this will go to our medical adviser.

We’ll ask for a written reference form to be completed by two people who know you well and aren’t related to you and from one family member. When we receive the written references, we’ll arrange to visit your referees to discuss their reference and your application.

Visiting you at home

We’ll also visit you to complete a stage 1 plan (agreement) and talk about your training and preparation needs. We’ll suggest some areas of reading and e-learning for you to do during this stage to develop your knowledge and understanding of adoption.

As part of our visit, we’ll look around your home and garden. We’ll ask you to do a health and safety self-assessment of your home and garden and fill in your findings on a health and safety form. We’ll also ask you to complete a health and safety and pet questionnaire and return that to us.

If we identify any health and safety concerns when we visit, which might be harmful to a child, like, for example, uncovered fish ponds or open plan stairways, we’ll ask you to consider how you can make your home and garden safer.

Where we do have concerns, we’ll try to resolve these by discussing them with you; we may need to ask you for more information to help us with the process.

By the end of stage 1, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed choice about whether you want to make a formal application to adopt and we’ll have the information we need to decide whether to accept your application.

Progression to stage 2

When all the checks, references and medical have been completed, we’ll review your file and decide, based on the information provided, whether we’ll accept your application and move on to stage 2.

When you’re ready to move on to stage 2, you’ll need to let us know. You don’t have to do this immediately after stage 1, but you’ll need to start within six months.

If we have concerns and decide that we’re not able to accept your application, we’ll explain what these are and give you written confirmation.