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6.2.13 Non Agency Adoption


This procedure applies to applications in relation to adoptive placements that have not been arranged by a local authority or registered adoption agency, other than children brought into the UK for the purposes of adoption. This will include adoption applications by step-parents, relatives, private foster carers or local authority foster carers who have not sought or obtained the local authority's approval for the placement becoming an adoptive placement.

In relation to such applications, the residence requirement are as follows:

  • If the applicant or one of the applicants is the partner of the parent of the child, the child must have lived with the applicants continuously for 6 months prior to the application;
  • If the applicants are local authority foster carers, the child must have lived with the applicants continuously for 12 months prior to the application;
  • In any other case, the child must have lived with the applicant(s) for three out of the last five years prior to the application or the Court must have granted leave for an earlier application.

For the procedure in relation to children who have been brought into the UK for the purposes of adoption - see Inter Country Adoption Procedure.

For the contents of the Court report for adoption applications, see Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance.


A minor amendment was made to this chapter in July 2015. In Section 1, Initial Contact, reference to the Diocesan Adoption Agency was updated to After Adoption.


  1. Initial Contact
  2. Notifications
  3. Other Checks
  4. Local Authority Duty to Supervise a Child

1. Initial Contact

Non - agency adoptions are largely carried out on behalf of the Council by After Adoption.

Where residents of the local authority area request advice by letter, telephone or in person in relation to a non-agency adoption, the matter should be referred to the Adoption Service and a Referral Form should be completed and the enquirer should be offered general information. The family will be counselled and advised over the telephone.

An information leaflet will be sent out following that Initial discussion.

The prospective applicants should be offered information and advice on the adoption process and the implications of adoption, including the following:

  1. Alternatives to adoption;
  2. The child's need to know that s/he is adopted and have information about the birth family;
  3. The requirement for the consent of parents with Parental Responsibility to be obtained;
  4. The role of CAFCASS;
  5. The need to notify the local authority of their intention to apply for an Adoption Order.

If it is clear that the applicants do not fulfil the criteria of Domicile / Habitual Residence in the UK, the duty social worker should advise them to obtain legal advice.

The applicants will then be asked to send in a letter of intent to adopt to the Adoption Team Manager, at which point, the case will then be transferred to After Adoption by the team manager.

The adoption agency will request the statutory checks from the local authority and those will be completed and returned to the allocated worker.

The case will be seen through to adoption order by After Adoption who will then return the file and a copy of the adoption order for archiving.

Where a foster carer is making a non-agency application to adopt a Looked After child, with the support of the local authority, the case will be allocated as soon as possible.

2. Notifications

In the case of non-agency placements, applicants for adoption must notify the local authority for the area where they live of their intention to apply for an Adoption Order. The notification should be sent at least three months but no more than two years before the date of the adoption application.

Upon receipt of the notification, the local authority will have a duty to supervise the welfare of the child if the child is within the definition of Privately Fostered - see Section 4, Local Authority Duty to Supervise Child.

3. Other Checks

On receipt of the notification of intention to apply to adopt, the social worker should arrange a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the applicants and any member of the household aged 18 or over. Forms should be left for the prospective adopters to complete as soon as practicable after notification of an intention to adopt is received.

4. Local Authority Duty to Supervise Child

On receipt of a notification in relation to a child who comes within the definition of Privately Fostered, the social worker must supervise the child until an Adoption Order is made in accordance with the Private Fostering Procedure, see Private Fostering Statement of Purpose Procedure.