How we find adoptive parent for children who need a new family, and how you can express interest in adoption.
The adoption process can be longer than many people expect, especially the period from approval to matching. Changes in legislation and the use of Scotland's Adoption Register, adoption exchange days and activity days have all helped to maximise the opportunities for children to be placed in their adoptive families. At all times, our priority is to ensure that the needs of the child or children are met.
Where possible, our aim is to return children who have been in alternative care to their own parents, or extended family. For some children, this is not possible, and we will try to find an adoptive home for them. Sometimes this will be with the parents' agreement, but this decision may be without parental consent.
Our responsibility is to meet the needs of children in our care. Most adopted children are aged 2-5 years and may be adopted along with their siblings.
Children needing adoption often require help and support for their own developmental recovery. While a child's future may be unclear, we offer a post-adoption service which supports you in caring for your child throughout their life.
Children who require adoption
A child may need additional support because they may have:
- experienced the loss of a significant relationship, such as their birth parents
- been subject to neglect or abuse during their life
- been exposed to prenatal drug and/or alcohol abuse
What we look for in adoptive parents
We need adopters who can offer a ‘family for life’ to:
- children with emotional difficulties and challenging behaviour
- groups of brothers and sisters together
- children with mental or physical disabilities or medical needs
- children who need to retain some contact with birth family members
Expressing an interest in adopting
We run campaigns twice a year that offer people an opportunity to discuss their interests with a social worker. You can talk about your circumstances with our social workers and we’ll help you decide if adoption is right for you.
You can use the information request form to express your interest in finding out more. We’ll ask you to come along to one of our preparation courses.
We aim to hold preparation groups for adopters twice a year. These events will:
- consist of 6 to 8 meetings
- be arranged for evenings and weekends
- include input from social workers, adult adoptees and adoptive parents.
The preparation group allows those interested in applying to adopt to consider the issues and challenges and establish if they have the skills and qualities to become adoptive parents.
After the preparation group, you’ll be assessed by a qualified social worker who has experience of childcare, adoption and family placement work.
The assessment will include looking at the skills and experience you already have as well as areas which may require further development and support. During this period, a series of essential checks will be completed on you and any adults aged 16 and over in your home.
The assessment involves writing a report about you, which you will have the opportunity to contribute and respond to, before the application is considered by the Stirling Council adoption panel. We aim to complete the assessment within six months.
Panel members will read the assessment and make a decision based on information it contains.
Protection of vulnerable groups (PVG)
All prospective adoptive parents are required to undergo a PVG check. This check will highlight if the applicant has any criminal convictions. You should let us know at the start of your application process if you have been convicted of a criminal offence. If you have, it may still be possible for you to become an adoptive parent – this will be discussed with you on a case-by-case basis.
You'll need to undergo a full medical assessment, carried out by your own GP. If you need to, you can find your GP's contact details by using NHS Forth Valley's local service finder.
Let us know at the start of your application if you have a history of medical problems. Specific medical conditions may not preclude you from adopting children, however, it may impact on the number or age of child/children you can adopt.
Local authority checks
We’ll check any records held by our social care department. If you’ve lived in another local authority area since age 16, we’ll also check their records.
Employment history and employer’s reference
You’ll need to tell us your full employment history. We’ll request a written reference from your current, or most recent, employer.
Previous partners, older and adult children
If you’ve been in a previous long-term relationship, we’ll try to contact your former partner. If any children were involved in the relationship, we’ll also try to contact them. If you have any concerns, please tell us when we discuss your application.
We’ll ask you to provide a list of 6 potential referees covering various stages of your life. Up to 2 of these can be from your relatives. Referees will be asked to provide a written reference, some may also be visited.