Discover if adoption is for you – 8 weeks
Contact us. We'll explain the process and tell you about the children who need new families. We'll give you lots of information, answer your questions about adoption and send you our information pack. We'll also arrange to visit you in your home so we can get to know each other.
We have outlined the main steps of stage one below. Please see FAQs below for more information.
Registration and checks
When you feel ready, you can register your interest in adoption with us. This is the start of Stage One. You’ll have a social worker to take you through the process. We'll take up references and checks and you'll arrange an adoption medical with your GP. Stage One takes eight weeks to complete.
'Nurture the Journey' is Adoption Focus's adoption support package, tailored to the needs of each family. This programme is offered to everyone who registers to adopt with Adoption Focus and lasts a lifetime.
In addition to the continuing support of your dedicated and experienced social worker, our support includes training and workshops, direct work with children, expert advice, literature, support groups, social events, newsletters, a referral to our buddy scheme, work with schools or just a chat to help reassure you that you’re not alone.
Stage One FAQs - References and checks
Why do I need to have references and checks?
References and checks are required because adoption agencies have a responsibility to make sure that adoptive parents do not pose a risk to any children placed with them. Adoption Focus will request references from friends and family of applicants plus relevant information from other sources.
If you have any queries or concerns about reference checks please contact us for confidential advice from our social workers.
Some of the checks in support of your application include:
- Employers - current employers for all applicants and previous employers where you have worked with children and/or vulnerable adults or if you have either recently or regularly changed jobs
- A report from the local authorities you have lived in during the last ten years
- Written reports of interviews with three personal referees nominated by you – one from a relative and two from people who you know you well. At least one of the referees should have known you for a minimum of five years
- Details and verification of your income and outgoings
- If you have children – a written reference from your child’s school or health visitor
- A written report from your GP about your health, after a full medical examination. Further reports may be sought if you have been receiving treatment for a chronic or acute condition, where a consultant is involved in your care
Stage One FAQs - Disclosure and Barring Service
The Disclosure and Barring Service
Anyone who wants to adopt a child must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Anyone over the age of 18 years who lives in the household must also have this check.
The DBS searches police records and barred list information and then issues a DBS certificate to the applicant.
Having a previous conviction, caution, reprimand or warning will not necessarily prevent a person from being considered as an adopter but it is helpful to let your Agency know as soon as possible if this is the case.
There are some specified offences which would prevent an Adoption Agency from considering a person as an adopter. Specified offences include nearly all crimes against children and some sexual offences against adults. They are set out in the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005.
If the DBS certificate reveals offences which are not specified and don't stop the assessment from going any further, they may still be relevant to suitability. For example, if someone has several recent drink driving or public disorder offences - this may suggest an alcohol problem.
Stage One FAQs - Preparation
'Nurture the Journey' is Adoption Focus' adoption support package, tailored to the needs of each family. This programme is offered to everyone who registers to adopt with Adoption Focus and lasts a lifetime. In addition to the continuing support of your dedicated and experienced social worker, our support includes training and workshops, direct work with children, expert advice, literature, support groups, social events, newsletters, a referral to our buddy scheme, work with schools or just a chat to help reassure you that you’re not alone.
All applicants begin with our preparation training which we run in groups throughout the year. You'll meet other applicants at the same stage, learn more about the process and the children, as well as child development and the best ways to support adopted children. You'll also meet some our adopters hear about their experiences.
On completion of training and when your checks and references are returned to us, if you decide that you want to be assessed, we can start Stage Two.