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Adoption in North Lincolnshire

To follow any changes to this service, visit the Council Service Updates page.

Information about adopting children in North Lincolnshire.

Thinking about adopting? Time to talk to us!

We are looking for people who can make a real difference to the children we care for.  Are you that person?

In North Lincolnshire, adoptive parents are needed for children of all ages from a range of backgrounds. The Adoption team is looking for people who can offer love, time and commitment to a child.

Anyone who is over 21 can adopt – there is no upper age limit. You can be single or in a relationship; you can own or rent your home. We do not discriminate on the grounds of age, class, culture, disability, race or sexual orientation.

You don’t have to live in North Lincolnshire to adopt and we welcome interest from those in and outside of North Lincolnshire.

Information events

Information events take place on the first Wednesday of every month from 5.30pm to 8pm. They offer a great opportunity to find out more about becoming an adopter. To join, all you need to do is give us a call on 01724 297024 between those times. An experienced adoption social worker will be waiting to take your call.

If you can’t make the information event, the Adoption team would love to hear from you anytime. Give them a call on 01724 297024 or complete the simple adoption enquiries form below.

If adoption is not for you, do you know someone who would make a fantastic adoptive parent? Spread the word for us and tell them we are looking for adopters.

What our adopters say

Adoptive parents speak positively about the care they receive and the efficiency of the process in North Lincolnshire.

One North Lincolnshire adopter said:

“Thank you so much for your help, support and kindness throughout our adoption journey. You made us feel at ease from the very beginning and you made what could have been a difficult process something which we enjoyed and got more out of than we ever thought possible”

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about being an adoptive parent please:

Whichever way you choose to get in touch, our Adoption team will provide further information about the process.

We are a small, experienced and dedicated Adoption team who work hard to provide the best possible service that we can. We can’t wait to hear from you!

We will support potential adopters throughout the whole process. We will talk to you about the different things you have to offer and why you feel adoption is the right path for you and your family. You will be fully involved in the assessment.

When you have made an initial enquiry, we will send information out to you within 24 hours. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.

If you would like to progress to an initial visit, then an adoption social worker will arrange to come and see you. This gives you a chance to talk about adoption in more detail.

If you decide that you would like to work with us, you will need to complete a registration of interest form. We will make a decision within five working days whether to proceed to stage one or not. We will notify you in writing.

Stage one – initial preparation

Stage one begins when we accept your registration of interest. This stage should take no longer than two months. During this stage, police references and health checks will be made. We will discuss dates for you to attend the “preparing to adopt” course. We will invite you to a workshop to go through the adoption process in more detail. You will learn about the children who are waiting for adoptive families. There will also be an opportunity to learn from experienced adopters and adoptees.

At the end of stage one, we will tell you of our decision on whether to proceed to stage two. You must also tell us if you wish to proceed to stage two within six months of the decision. You are able to take a break of up to six months between stage one and two.

Stage two – agency led intensive training

Stage two of the adoption process will not begin until you have completed stage one and have notified us that you want to proceed to stage two.

Stage two should take four months. It includes intensive training and assessment. Together we will create an assessment plan. This will detail the assessment process, dates of meetings, visits and agreed training.

Your adoption social worker will guide you through this. We will give you a copy of the assessment report and invite you to send observations on the report within five working days. The report then goes before the adoption panel who will make a recommendation about your suitability to adopt.

You will be invited to attend the adoption panel and you will be supported by your adoption social worker. Once the panel has met and made its recommendation, the agency decision maker decides whether a prospective adopter is suitable to adopt. You will find more details in the adoption brochure that we will give to you.

We provide a range of support services to adoptive families, adopted children and birth relatives. These include:

  • letterbox and mediation service
  • training and workshops
  • support groups
  • financial support
  • resources
  • social events

To find out more please visit the support for adopters page.

We are looking for people who think ‘early permanence’ might be right for them. Early permanence is also known as ‘fostering for adoption’ and ‘concurrency’.

Early permanence places a child (during the period of temporary local authority care) with foster carers who are also approved as adopters. If the court agrees that the child should be adopted, then they will make a legal order which is called a ‘placement order’. The adoption agency then approves the ‘match’ between the adopters and the child. The placement then becomes an adoptive placement.

The advantages to early permanence for the child are:

  • They are placed with carers who may become their adopters depending on the decision that the court makes. It must be remembered that until the court decides that adoption is right for the child, the parents case remains to be decided.
  • It enables the child to be with people who may become their permanent parents at an earlier stage.
  • It allows the early months and years of the child’s life to be what most children need and expect.

You will probably have lots of questions about early permanence and you don’t have to decide about this straight away. You will have the opportunity to speak to your adoption social worker about it. Further reading and training can also be provided.

Our Fostering for adoption carers leaflet [PDF, 602Kb] has more information.

Here are some of the things that our adopters say about our adoption service:

  • We live in a different area but decided to come to North Lincolnshire because they placed our first child with us and we got an excellent service from them
  • Very good – quick, good relationship with our social worker – very pleased
  • We have found the whole process very enjoyable and relaxed
  • We have received excellent service, with no complaints
  • We have been listened to and given lots of information and questions have been answered
  • Our social worker was organised, sensitive and supportive throughout
  • We have been very pleased with the service we have received, especially given the geographical distances involved
  • The workshops in particular were enjoyable – an opportunity to meet other prospective adopters

If you’ve considered adoption, but didn’t think you would be eligible – then think again. Some of the misconceptions about adoption are listed below.

I’m single so I can’t adopt

Not true. Single people can adopt whatever their gender. Many single people and unmarried couples have successfully adopted children.

I’m too old to adopt

Not true. Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit. Agencies will expect you to have the health and vitality to see your children through to an age of independence. Consideration will be given to your age comparative to the age of the child you want to adopt.

I can’t adopt because I’m gay

Not true. Whether you are heterosexual, lesbian or gay is not a factor in your right to adopt.

I work full time so I’m not allowed to adopt/I’m unemployed or too poor to adopt

Not true. Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but low income, being unemployed or employed do not automatically rule you out. You can be an adoptive parent while on benefits.

I can’t adopt because I have a criminal record

Not true. If you have a criminal caution or conviction for offences against children or certain sexual offences against adults then you will not be able to adopt. But with the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest in your application.

I have children living at home, so I won’t be able to adopt

Not true. Having children of your own (of any age) will certainly not exclude you from adopting (whether they are living at home with you or have grown up). Consideration will be given to the age gap between your own children and the age of the child(ren) you wish to adopt. Consideration will be given to the position of each child within the family in accordance with the child(ren)s’ needs.

Children over 18 will usually be DBS checked as well as any other adult member of your household.

I won’t be allowed to adopt because I can’t have my own children

Not true. It is really important that anyone wanting to be an adoptive parent understands their own motivations. Agencies will expect you to discuss both emotional and medical issues with them.

If you have had or are undergoing fertility treatment most agencies will expect you to complete any medical investigations and fertility treatments before considering adoption. The emotional demands in pursuing either route to parenthood can be great and doing both in tandem is not encouraged. Most agencies specify a set timescale between infertility treatment ending and formally applying to be approved as adopters. This is usually about six months but this can be discussed at the start of the process.

I can’t adopt because I smoke

Smoking will not necessarily rule you out from adopting. Consideration will be given to this and to all health and lifestyle related issues. The agency will want to know of any specific health risks to you or to the children who may be placed in your care.

There is no single national policy on smoking, but all agencies will apply some restrictions. According to national medical advice children under five and those with particular medical conditions should not be placed in smoking households. You will usually need to be smoke-free for at least six months before adoption from these groups can be considered.

I am disabled so will not be allowed to adopt

Not true. Being disabled should not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter and it is widely recognised that disabled people can often provide a very loving home for a child.

Disability is only one of the many issues that will be considered by an adoption agency so don’t rule yourself out before you have had a conversation with your agency of choice.

Even if you believe that you might need some additional assistance to adopt a young person, social services may be able to provide this support.

I can’t adopt a child from a different ethnic background

Not true. The aim for everyone in the adoption system is to find loving families for each child in need of a happy future, even if there is not a perfect ethnic match. Ethnicity is relevant however and you must have an understanding of the challenges that raising a child of a different ethnicity can provide. Your agency will help prepare you for this if it applies to you.

Ofsted regulates the adoption service and carries out inspections to assess that we are meeting the Adoption National Minimum Standards.

We proudly hold an ‘Outstanding’ judgement from our last inspection in 2017. You can read the Ofsted report on the Ofsted website.

Special guardianship provides permanence for children when they are unable to remain with their parents until they are 18 .

The local authority that places a child, is responsible for the assessment and provision of any support services for the first three years after a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) has been made. After this time, the local authority where the special guardians live will take over control and be responsible for assessing and providing their support needs.
If the child was not looked after at the time the Special Guardianship Order was made, then any requests for support need to be made straight away to the local authority that the special guardians are currently living in.
We provide a range of support services including:

  • A letterbox service and mediation for the exchange of information between children (with special guardians) and birth family members
  • Mediating, facilitating and supervising direct contact arrangements
  • Services to support family relationships
  • Assessments for support services including financial support
  • A support group for special guardians through regular coffee mornings
  • Training workshops
  • Close links with the local Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

Where required, we can also provide individual social work support to families through a social worker.

Please contact us for a copy of our support leaflet that provides an overview of the services that are provided locally. We will also give you a copy of our training guide with details of training courses.

We all need a little support sometimes, so please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help.

An intercountry adoption is the process by which you adopt a child from a country other than your own.

Intercountry adoption is a complex process with very stringent legalities. Compliance is required through UK legislation as well as the relevant country’s legislation. It is important to note that the legislation in different countries is often not the same.

Intercountry adoption is not an easy option. A thorough assessment is completed before a child is placed away from their country of origin, community and extended family. If you are thinking about intercountry adoption, then it is important that you think carefully about the long term effects on both yourself and the child.

As a prospective intercountry adopter, we advise you to look beyond the initial desire to provide a child from another country with a stable home and loving parents, and think about the long term effects it may have on you and the child.

If you are considering intercountry adoption, we will initially gather information from you. We work in collaboration with other agencies to offer potential intercountry adopters the specialist service they require.

If you want to consider, or would like more information about becoming an intercountry adoptive parent, please contact us. Alternatively, you can complete an adoption enquiries form

Under certain circumstances, you can apply direct to the local courts for an Adoption Order if a child who is not related to you has been living with you for some time. Generally, the birth parents of any child would have to be willing to agree to the adoption.

Before a court application can be made, you must give at least 12 weeks written notice to the local authority adoption service of your intention to adopt the child. This approach is most often used by stepfamilies who have a child or children from a previous relationship living with them. In these circumstances, some step parents feel they would like to legally formalise their position with their step child and obtain parental responsibility.

Step parents can obtain parental responsibility by:

  • a Parental Responsibility Agreement or a Parental Responsibility Order
  • a Residence Order
  • an Adoption Order
  • possibly by being named within a Child Arrangement Order
  • Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We will be happy to help. We can also send you a copy of the Step Families and Adoption booklet.

We are always looking for feedback about our services. We use this feedback to develop. Let us know what you think by completing our online consultation form.