Renfrewshire Council

The adoption process

What the adoption process does, the six stages of the adoption process.

What the adoption process achieves

The adoption process is about assessing individuals and families ability to understand the needs of children no longer able to live with their birth families.

The process can take approximately 12 months. This may seem like a long time however, it is important to make sure adoption is right for all involved. Each stage of the adoption process is an assessment to make sure adoption is the right choice for you and your family. Once you get to the approval stage, your assessment will be presented to the Adoption Panel to be considered.

If the Panel recommends you as an adopter, the Agency Decision Maker will finalise your approval.

The adoption process is made up of six stages.

1. Initial enquiry

To express an interest in adoption, call our First Response Team on 0300 300 1199 (Option 1), or directly on
0141 618 2535, where you will be put through to a member of the Adoption Team. They will gather initial information
and answer any questions you may have. An information pack will then be sent to you.

After reading the pack, if you feel you wish to progress, an initial home visit will be arranged, where we will discuss the adoption process further.

2. Initial home visit

During your initial home visit, we will explore your decision to adopt and the legalities behind adoption.

If there are any major health issues or past criminal convictions within the family, they must be raised at this time so that we can assess these concerns early.

If both you and the social worker are happy to continue, you will be invited to attend the next available preparation group, and continue the process of adoption.

3. Preparation groups

Adoption preparation groups discuss the preliminary nature of adoption, such as; why children need to be adopted, attachment, child development, birth parents, and post adoption support.

You will gain valuable insights in adoption from experienced adoptive parents and various members of the Adoption Team who talk you through the further stages of the adoption process, and their experiences matching children to their adoptive families.

Attendance at preparation groups is mandatory to move to the next stage. After completion of the preparation groups, a member of the Adoption Team team will arrange a home visit with you to give you feedback on your participation at the preparation groups, and advise if you are still suitable to move forward for adoption.

If you are considered, you will be presented with a formal application form.

4. Home study assessment

Once your application has been received by the Adoption Team, you will be allocated a supervising social worker, who will complete a Home Study Assessment (Form F) and help you through the rest of the adoption process.

A Form F is a very thorough assessment that looks at each individual applying to become adopters. The assessment goes into detail about your overall background, family history, relationships, and home situation. This assessment can take between 6-9 months to complete due to its extensiveness and need to be thorough.

Once the Home Study Assessment has been completed, it will be presented to the Adoption Panel for final review and recommendations and then passed to the Agency Decision Maker for approval.

5. Adoption Panel and approval

The Adoption Panel is made up of a group of professionals who will analyse your Home Study Assessment, and may
ask you further questions relating to your answers.

The Adoption Panel is comprised of councillors, medical advisors, legal services, experienced foster carers / adoptive parents, representatives from education, lay members, and social work staff.

After the panel, a recommendation will be made to consider your approval as an adoptive parent. Agreement regarding age, gender, and number of children, is made at this stage.

The recommendations will then go to the Agency Decision Maker, who will make the final decision, and an official letter of approval will be sent out within 14 working days of the panel if approval is agreed.

6. Linking process

Linking in adoption refers to the process of deciding if a particular family can meet the needs of an individual child or sibling group. Your supervising social worker will help you make the right choice by looking at the children's profiles and discussing whether you have the specific skills to meet their needs.

"The whole process was pretty smooth from start to finish. I know other adopters in other local authorities haven't had the same experience so we're glad we came to Renfrewshire.

"The initial group sessions really prepared us for what to expect and the timescales given were realistic. Anne, our social worker, was very easy to work with and supported us all the way, communicating with us on a regular basis throughout.

"The most interesting part of the assessment process was taking the time to document our life stories, something which most people don't have the opportunity to do." - adoptive parents in Renfrewshire.