Steps to adopting a child

If you're thinking about adoption, this step by step guide takes you through the process, from your initial enquiry to welcoming a child into your family.

Step 1: find out about adoption

Read through the information on our website to find out more about adoption.  You can also look at sites such as First4adoption.

Step 2: talk to the adoption team

Talk to us and we’ll give you the information you need (within 10 working days), either by inviting you to one of our information evenings, or by arranging a pre-planned phone call with you.

You can contact us by:


calling (0345) 1120012

Step 3: complete a registration of interest

It’s important that you get all the information and advice you need before you take the decision to commit to adoption and move to stage 1 of the adoption process (your learning).

When you’re ready you'll need to complete a registration of interest form. Within 5 working days of us receiving your form, we’ll write to you to tell you either:

  • we’ve accepted your registration of interest and can move you to stage 1 of the adoption process


  • we’ve declined your registration of interest and the reasons why

Step 4: start stage 1 (your learning)

This is the first step on your adoption journey when you begin to work with the adoption team so that they can get to know you better.

It will take 2 months to complete.

This stage includes:

  • a home assessment visit to get to know you and talk about health and safety aspects of looking after children
  • a stage 1 plan – we’ll draw up a plan with you about your training and support needs
  • statutory checks – we’ll do the necessary checks on you and visit the referees you provide
  • a medical – we’ll ask you to go for a medical

At the end of stage 1, we’ll write to you to say we’ve considered all the information above and to let you know that we:

  • can move you on to stage 2 of the adoption process (your assessment)


  • cannot take your application any further and tell you the reasons why

Stage 5: preparation to start stage 2 (your assessment)

If we accept you at stage 1, we’ll ask you to do some preparation work before starting stage 2 (your assessment).

This will include preparing information about your family tree, your support networks, and important events in your life.

Step 6: start stage 2 (your assessment)

At the start of stage 2, your intensive training and assessment begins. This takes 4 months.

This is where you work with the adoption team to prepare your assessment for submission to Adoption Panel.

When you’re ready to start stage 2, it will include:

  • allocating you an assessing social worker
  • weekly 2 hour assessment visits
  • 4/5 day preparation training
  • possible attendance at a children’s centre (for childcare experience)
  • written work to contribute to your assessment
  • submission of your assessment by your social worker to the Adoption Panel within 10 weeks from the start of stage 2

Step 7: Adoption Panel

The Adoption Panel considers your completed assessment and makes recommendations to the council’s Adoption Agency Decision Maker about whether or not to accept you as an adopter. The Assistant Executive Director for Children’s Services is our Agency Decision Maker.

The Panel will invite you and your assessing social worker to attend when they consider your assessment.

Panel members will ask you questions, which you’ll be given before the meeting so that you can think about your answers. Once you’ve answered their questions, they’ll ask you to leave the room while they make a decision about your assessment.

The Panel Chair will tell you their recommendation before you leave.

One Adoption partnership

We're working towards a partnership with other local authorities and voluntary and adoption support agencies, called One Adoption. This will meet the government's aim to deliver all adoption services regionally by 2020.

One Adoption will improve outcomes for children and those who want to adopt. It will help recruit new families more effectively and place children more quickly. It will also improve adoption support and allow us to share best practice to make our services even better.

Local adoption teams in Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham will combine to create one single South Yorkshire agency, providing the best possible local adoption services. You can find out more about this process on the One Adoption website.