On this page: Information about Adoption, including the application process, regulations and links to further useful information.
Adoption is a legal process that transfers parental responsibility from a child's birth parents to adoptive parents. The child becomes, in law, a full member of the adoptive family. When a court makes an adoption order, it cannot be revoked.
Adoption is a way of providing a permanent home for a child that cannot, for whatever reason, be brought up in his/her birth family.
People Who Can Adopt
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age in order to be able to adopt.
Single people and couples can apply to adopt. Couples do not have to be married or in civil partnerships. It is the stability of relationships that matters not legal status.
There is no upper age limit but children needing adoption need a parent/parents who can be a support to them well beyond their teens.
Those who have no children and those who have birth children can adopt.
A criminal record does not automatically mean one cannot adopt but it does depend on the offences and when they were committed. There are some specified offences against children which mean the person is not suitable to adopt. Thorough checks are made.
You do not have to own your home to adopt but have appropriate security of tenure.
It is not how much income you have that matters but how well you manage your money.
Being disabled is not a barrier to adoption – it is your capacity to parent an adopted child that is important.
There are no “blanket bans” on the grounds of age, weight, appearance, sexuality, status and income.
We welcome prospective adopters from all cultures, languages and religions within the UK and whose backgrounds are from more than one culture.
Applicants need to demonstrate a commitment to giving a child the care and security he or she needs, by undergoing a detailed assessment of themselves and their family, and attending a preparatory training course.
Applicants need to be aware of the importance of most adopted children maintaining some level of contact (direct or indirect) with their birth families.
The sorts of children for whom we are typically seeking adoptive homes are:
Older children who are already in the care system and cannot live within their own birth families or extended family, but who may need to continue to have some contact with their relatives.
Brothers and sisters who need to be placed together.
Children with disabilities.
If you are interested in pursuing an adoption application, you may wish to attend one of our information sessions where you will have the opportunity of having a personal discussion with a family placement officer. Please contact us if you think that this might help you.
The Application Process
If, after initial discussions with a family placement officer, we believe you can offer what is needed and you wish to proceed, the next stages are for you to:
Attend a number of preparatory training sessions.
Receive several visits from a family placement officer to get to know you, gather factual information, gain a depth of knowledge about you and your family lifestyle, and ensure you fully understand the implications of adoption.
Provide the names of two personal referees who know you well. They will be asked to complete a reference form and will be personally interviewed by the family placement officer.
Agree to the agency taking up police checks and other checks.
Agree to under-going a full medical examination (this is usually paid for by the agency).
Why Information is Needed
During the assessment process, it is necessary for us to collect a great deal of personal information about you. This may seem very intrusive, but the information is essential for the following reasons:
The adoption panel uses the information to make a recommendation about your suitability to be adoptive parents, based on the fullest possible information.
The information is used, following approval, to 'match' your family with a child needing a family.
Once a child is placed, the information forms the basis of the report to the court which will hear the adoption application.
We have responsibility for the care and safety of children we 'look after' and we have to ensure that prospective adopters are thoroughly checked and vetted for their suitability to take on this responsibility.
What Else You Should Consider
The following are additional points that you may find helpful:
We aim to complete the approval process within six months from the receipt of your application.
We will however prioritise applications in response to our local needs.
After approval there is no guarantee of how soon a child will be placed. Sometimes a 'match' is made within a few weeks; often though it can take much longer to find the right family for a child.
In Swindon there are usually about ten children up to the age of 11 awaiting an adoptive placement at any one time. Some of these will be groups of brothers and sisters needing to be placed together.
The functions of Swindon Borough Council as an approved adoption agency are governed by the provision of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.
This Statement of Purpose has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of The Local Authority Adoption Service (England) Regulations 2003, and fulfils the Agencies duties and responsibilities as set out in Standard 1 of the accompanying Adoption National Minimum Standards, published under the provisions of Sections 23(1) and 49(1) of the Care Standards Act 2000.
The Statement further seeks to reflect the Council’s commitment to ‘Best Practice’ in Adoption work, as defined by National Adoption Standards for England, published in August 2001.
For those wishing to view the "Statement of Purpose" may do so by downloading the following document, which is available as a pdf file:
Adoption Statement of Purpose
If you are considering adopting a child or becoming a foster carer and would like more information, please contact us at:
Swindon Borough Council
Family Placement Team
The General Register Office operates an Adoption Contact Register. Birth families can register that if the adopted person also registers they would like the adopted person to know of their wish to make contact. The adopted person can register in the same way.
There is a leaflet from the General Register Office which is explains the Adoption Contact Register.
For more information, please use one of the following methods:
Telephone: 0151 471 4830
Visit the General Register Office Website
South West Adoption Network(SWAN)
Swindon Children Services has a service level agreement with the South West Adoption Network (SWAN) to offer independent and confidential service to birth parents who are affected by the adoption of their birth child.
To contact SWAN please telephone:
Helpline tel: 0117 3730265.
The Helpline is available on:
Alternatively, for further information:
SWAN will become an Adoption Support Agency.
NORCAP is also planning to become an Adoption Support Agency. NORCAP is a support group that aims to help adults handle their feelings about the effect of adoption on their lives. It provides opportunities for birth relatives to talk freely with others who have personal experience of adoption. NORCAP also operates a Register which may link people separated by adoption who want to be put in touch with each other. It can also give advice on searching for relatives separated by adoption and provide an intermediary service.
Swindon Children Services has professional membership of NORCAP. This enables residents of Swindon to join NORCAP at discounted rates.
NORCAP can be contacted as follows:
Telephone: 01865 875000. (Telephone lines are open Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 1pm and from 1.30pm to 4.30pm)
Alternatively, for further information:
Visit the NORCAP Website
Local Authority Support
If you would like assistance in locating a service to support you as a birth parent, please contact the Councils' Adoption Support Services Adviser on 01793 463125.
Many adopters find membership of Adoption UK beneficial. Adoption UK was founded in 1971 by adoptive parents to offer support, information, advice and encouragement to prospective and established adopters.
There is a local group of Adoption UK members that meets in Swindon. Swindon Children Services will pay the first years subscription of any adoptive family resident in Swindon to Adoption UK as part of the Council's commitment to adoption support services for adopters.
To contact Adoption UK:
For issues relating to membership, general advice and help:
Tel: 0870 7700 450.
Alternatively, e-mail: email@example.com
A range of information is also available on the Adoption UK Website
Our Adoption leaflet is available to download and will provide you with further information alternatively, leaflets on SWAN, NORCAP and The Contact Register and Access to Birth Records can also be obtained from Swindon Children Services. To obtain copies telephone the Family Placement Team on 01793 465700 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org