Who can adopt?

All sorts of people can adopt. We welcome applications from people of all religions, races, genders and sexuality. Our adoptive parents reflect a wide range of circumstances and life experience, for example, you may be married, single, in a relationship, divorced, widowed, employed or unemployed. We assess every application on an individual basis.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

We are always looking to recruit adoptive parents who can care for children who need adoption. Whatever your circumstances it is important that you are flexible and open-minded about the children you can adopt.
 
Currently we are looking to recruit adoptive parents for children with uncertain health and development and children in sibling groups. You can find out more about the children we are currently looking to place on the page about our children.
 
Find out more about who can adopt.
 

Click to expandHow old do I need to be to adopt?

You need to be at least 21 years old to adopt. There is no upper age limit but we have to be realistic about health and wellbeing in the long term to provide a permanent and stable home for a child.

Click to expandDo I need to own my own home?

You need to have enough space in your home to provide your adopted child with their own bedroom. You may own your own home, rent from the local authority or rent privately - what is more important is that you are able to offer space and stability for your adopted child which meets their needs.

Click to expandCan I adopt if I live outside of Leeds?

To adopt with us you will need to live in Leeds or within a reasonable travelling distance from Leeds. You will also need to be a UK resident or have your permanent home in the British Isles. Please call us for further advice if you aren't sure whether you meet these requirements.​

Click to expandDo I need any special qualifications to adopt?

No. You should enjoy being with children and have a stable lifestyle but you don't need any special qualifications to adopt a child.

You will need the same skills you would need to parent a birth child, as well as some extra knowledge and skills to enable you to meet the additional needs of your adopted child. We offer you advice, training and continued support to help you build up the knowledge and skills you need. You can find more about this on this help 'things to think about' document

Things to think about

Click to expandHow do you assess whether I can become an adoptive parent?

We will take you through an thorough assessment process and together we will consider if adoption is right for your family, if now is the right time for you to adopt and if you are able to adopt the children who currently need adoptive families. Any concerns you may have will be considered and discussed in detail; in addition we will explore with you any issues that may arise.

Adoption is for life and together we will ensure that you are as prepared for this major change in your life as possible. To learn more about the process please see our step by step guide and come to one of our Information Evenings.

Step by step guide

Click to expandWhat checks are needed if I apply to adopt?

As well as talking to you about if adoption is right for you, we carry out some essential checks. These include Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks, address checks, social care checks and health checks.

If a conviction is disclosed, we will need to discuss this with you. Certain convictions, such as offences against children and some offences of a violent nature, will prevent us proceeding with an application. If you have any questions about this, please contact us.

We need to be as sure as we can be that you'll be able to care for a child through to adulthood, so we ask that you have a medical examination and discuss your health and wellbeing with us. This doesn't mean you can't adopt if you have a medical condition, it just means we will need to assess your long-term wellbeing.

Click to expandCan I adopt if I have had fertility treatment?

If you've had IVF or other fertility treatments we will ask you to wait a minimum of 6 months after the end of your treatment before you start the adoption process. You are welcome to attend an Information Evening, speak to our Adoption Duty and Advice team and gather as much information on adoption as you like within the 6 months but we would not visit you until after this time.

Click to expandCan I adopt if I have had fertility tests or treatment?

If you've had IVF or other fertility treatments we will ask you to wait a minimum of 6 months after the end of your treatment before you start the adoption process. You are welcome to attend Information Evening, speak to our Adoption Duty and Advice team and gather as much information on adoption as you like within the 6 months but we would not visit you until after this time. If you have had fertility test but no treatment we would need to discuss with you whether we would ask you to take a 6 month break.

Click to expandCan I adopt if I am receiving benefits?

Yes you can, it is important that adopters manage their finances within their means, whatever their financial circumstances. We would be concerned if you have considerable debts or significant money worries and we would need to consider this carefully with you.

Click to expandCan I adopt if I smoke?

Based on clear medical advice Leeds City Council, like most authorities in the UK, do not advocate smoking around children. Medical evidence shows that second-hand smoke can effect children’s health and wellbeing, especially young children and those with respiratory illness’, therefore we do not place children under the age of 5 years old in smoking households. This policy also includes the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices. If you have stopped smoking or are thinking about stopping we would ask for a minimum period of 6 months smoke-free before we commence the adoption process.​

Click to expandCan I adopt if my partner or I already have children?

Yes you can, sometimes having previous parenting experience can be beneficial to adoption but parenting an adopted child is different and we would need to make sure that you can meet the differing needs of both your adopted child and any existing children. If the existing children are old enough to understand or have grown up and moved away you are advised to involve them in your adoption journey as much as possible.

If you have a young child you may need to consider our guidance around age gaps. Any adopted children joining your family need to be the youngest and there has to be a minimum age gap of 2 years between the adopted child and any other children living in the family home. Therefore, existing children in the family need to be a minimum of 4yrs of age, as the majority of children that we will be placing for adoption will be 18 months and older.