What is the process?
Bexley prepares adopters according to national guidelines and timescales and this ensures that we follow a fair and consistent approach. The following steps lead to your approval as an adopter.
Stage one: information meeting
This happens every two months and gives you the chance to learn more about adoption and meet some members of Bexley adoption team.
Stage two: home visit
Following the information meeting you can request an initial assessment. A social worker from the adoption team will visit you to talk further about your individual situation.
Stage three: Application form
If after your home visit the adoption team are happy for you to proceed we will ask you to complete a formal application form. Your assessment will begin from the time we receive your application form and we will start to take up checks and references from that point. You will need to complete a criminal records bureau form at this stage.
Stage four: preparation groups
These groups are part of the assessment process and will give you an opportunity to learn in more detail about the children who need adoption and what their needs are likely to be.
Stage five: home study assessment
You will be allocated a social worker to undertake home visits and find out more about your family background, lifestyle your health needs your support networks and your strengths and weaknesses. Your social worker will then write a report called a prospective adopters report which you will be able to read and make comments on.
Stage six: the adoption panel
The Adoption panel is a legal requirement of adoption agencies in England and Wales and has responsibility for recommending to the director (of Bexley social services) whether applicants should be approved as adopters.
Stage seven: being matched with a child
Bexley adoption team will then try to match you with a suitable child. You will be consulted about any child identified as a possible match.
Stage eight: placement of child
A child identified for your family will be placed with you in a planned move.
Stage nine: adoption order
Adopters make an application for an adoption order supported by Bexley adoption team. You cannot apply for an adoption order until the child has lived with you for a minimum period of 10 weeks.
Once an adoption order is made adopters have full legal responsibility for looking after the child and the child will take your surname. However due to the special needs of some children Bexley adoption service can continue to offer you support and advice following an adoption order.
What else needs to be considered when applying to become an adopter?
We will need to apply for checks from the Criminal Records Bureau. If there is a record of offences these will need to be looked at, but apart from some offences against children they will not necessarily prevent someone from being assessed.
All adoption applicants will need to have a medical and health issues will be explored. Any lifestyle issues that could be detrimental to your health or a child's health will be explored.
Because of the harmful effects of smoking and passive smoking on children and young people we will encourage prospective adopters to undertake smoking cessation programmes. London Borough of Bexley's adoption team do not place children aged 0 to 5 years with adopters who smoke.
If you have undergone fertility treatments we would ask you to wait for a period of at least six months form your last treatment before beginning your assessment. The adoption process is time consuming and intense. It is better to undertake one process at a time.
If you are interested in adopting through Bexley, just give us a call on our freephone number 0800 783 7699, contact us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the online form in the right hand menu.