[Skip to content]

Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future

Adoption process

Dad reading to young son and daughter

Getting started

We work closely with adoptive parents to help and support you in the fulfilling, and sometimes challenging, role you are taking on. Adoption is for the life and to be successful we consider it important to meet both the child's need and yours.  

We have a two-stage approval process for prospective adopters. There is also a fast-track process for some previous adopters and for foster carer who want to adopt a child they are caring for. So whether you are just starting out or are ready to make a formal application, this is what you can expect.

When you make an enquiry

If you want to take your enquiry further we will arrange for a social worker to visit you. They will discuss the types of children we currently need families for, explain the adoption process, answer of your questions and help you decide if you want to go ahead with adoption. We will always be open and honest in our dealings with you. Confidentiality is important for you and for the children involved and we will respect this throughout the process.

If you decide to continue with the process you will complete a formal "Registration of Interest", which will give the agency information about you and your household members.

Stage One is adopter led, is about information gathering and should be completed in two months*.

Once we accept your Registration of Interest an adoption social worker will meet with you and you will be invited to attend preparation group sessions with other prospective adoptive parents (those with partners will be expected to attend all sessions together) where everyone discusses all the issues involved and learns from existing adoptive parents’ experiences. This is often the part of the process that adoptive parents find the most interesting and helpful.

 At the same time we will carry out the required statutory checks for adoption including:

  • Three personal references 
  • A medical examination with your GP
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. 

Your social worker will talk to you about any other checks we might want to take up.

Based on the information gathered during this period, the agency will make a decision as to whether you can continue to Stage Two (the assessment).

If it is decided that you are unsuitable to adopt through us we provide a clear explanation of the reasons why. Should you wish to complain about this decision you can do so using our complaints procedure.

Stage Two  is assessment based and should be completed in four months *.

This is the intensive training and assessment part of the adoption process and has two functions: 

  1. To confirm that you are the right kind of person to adopt.
  2. To give you the additional skills you need to be an adoptive parent.


The main part of the assessment is a series of visits made by a social worker from our agency to talk to you in your home. During this time the social worker gets to know you and your family and spends time helping you think about what strengths you could bring to adoptive parenting. The social worker will discuss your childhood and life experiences. 

They will ask you about how you how you feel about your family and what sort of parents you want to be and extended family will be included in the process.

When the assessment and training is complete, your application will be considered by the Adoption Panel. You will be invited to comment on the assessment report and to contribute your views before it goes to panel. You can also attend panel if you wish.

We aim to complete your application within six months but there may be occasions when the process goes beyond this, for example; if a reference is delayed or if you decide you want more time.

Once your application has been approved we will begin the process of finding the right child or children for you.  If we don’t have the right child for your family we will release your details, with your permission, to other adoption agencies through the National Adoption Register.

We will offer you full information about every child you consider, including their health and education, and any specific support needs. There will be the opportunity to meet the children before they move to live with you permanently. 

Until the child is legally adopted, we will work closely with you to ensure all the child’s needs are met. You will have the support of the child’s social worker and your adoption social worker both of whom will visit you regularly, particularly in the early days of the placement.

We will provide you with a placement agreement which details any support or help that has been agreed. Financial assistance may be available to meet any particular needs of the child, but this is usually only available for older children or children with a disability.

When the Adoption Order is granted it transfers the child’s legal status to you as parents and you gain all the parental responsibility that you would have if the child had been born to you.

You can however still ask for help with adoption issues at any point in your child’s life via our support after adoption service.

So, we hope to have a decision about your approval within 6 months*


*We will always try to work within the agreed timescales but if an application is complex it could take a little longer. 

Step Parent Adoption

A stepparent, who is the partner of the natural parent of a child, can apply to adopt their partner’s child or children. There are however, other ways to take on parental responsibility for stepchildren and you need to consider what is best for the child(ren), you and your partner. 

If you would like information about your options you can download our factsheet You and Your Stepfamily [PDF]. If you would like to discuss this or prefer a hard copy, please contact your local fostering team to request one.

Fostering Team (Ashfield) 01623 433433

Fostering Team (Bassetlaw) 01777 716161

Fostering Team (Mansfield) 01623 433433

Fostering Team (Newark) 01623 520520

Fostering Team (South Notts) 0115 8546000 

If the child you are interested in adopting is looked after by Nottinghamshire County Council, please contact the child's social worker. 

Telephone icon

Contact us

For all general enquiries or a no-obligation chat:

email: adoption@nottscc.gov.uk 
tel: 0845 301 2288

Complete the online enquiry form.

By using this site you are agreeing to our terms and conditions (including using cookies to collect anonymous usage statistics). If you do not agree you may either stop cookies in your browser settings or stop browsing the site. Find out more about how we use cookies.. Close