Who can adopt

Our recruitment criteria are tailored to suit the needs of the children waiting for adoption in Kent, and therefore we will prioritise those applicants able to meet their needs.

We are now focusing on recruiting adopters for children with complex or significant needs, over the age of 2 or part of a sibling group.

As an adopter, you will need to understand the child's background and accept that their upbringing may have been challenging. We promote equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, age, religious beliefs, disability or marital status.


Over 21 years old

Although we have no upper age limit it is expected that you should be healthy and well enough to parent a child through to adulthood.

Clear of criminal convictions

Adopters must be clear of certain criminal convictions or cautions, particularly any for sexual or domestic violence, or offences involving children, in line with government guidelines.

Resident in the United Kingdom

To adopt, you must be a resident of the United Kingdom.

Your experience

It is extremely important for you to have some experience of looking after children, whether this is from looking after any birth children you already have, taking care of the children of your friends or relatives, or in a professional role. We can advise you on ways to gain experience to help you decide whether adoption is the right option for you.

Your family

If you already have children in the family, including adopted children, we will discuss balancing their needs against those of any child placed for adoption. Experienced parents often have a lot to offer, but as part of the assessment we would need to take into account the wishes and feelings of your child and ensure that adoption is right for them too.

Your home

You do not have to own your own house to be able to adopt but it is important that you have secure, long-term accommodation and sufficient space to welcome a child.

Your income and job

Whether you work full time, are unemployed or on a low income, you can adopt a child as long as you have the financial resources to care for them. Your financial situation will be assessed during the assessment.

If you are an employed adoptive parent, you or your partner, are entitled to paid adoption leave. The amount you are entitled to will depend on your circumstances, however you will usually be expected to take extended time off from work when your child first arrives so that you can be there for them.

Your health

It is important that you are physically and emotionally well enough to keep up with a child throughout their childhood and beyond. You will need to have a health assessment with your GP. We also would like you to role model a healthy lifestyle.

Life events

Caring for a vulnerable child requires significant emotional and practical resources. For this reason, if you experience any major life events or emotional upheaval whilst considering adoption we will discuss the impact of this with you and may ask you to wait before formally applying to adopt.

Applications from outside of Kent

We will consider applications from those living outside Kent, particularly from people who wish to adopt older children, siblings or children with special needs, or from applicants with a dual heritage or ethnic background.

We are always looking for adoptive families for a wide mix of children, from a variety of backgrounds and with ages ranging from preschool to school aged children. Like the children, every adoptive family is different.

Find out about the application process

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