Adopt a child in West Sussex

Could you give a child a loving family?

Thinking about adoption? Find out more about our early permanence scheme.


Thinking about adoption? Here in West Sussex there are a number of children of all ages – from babies to school age – and from all backgrounds, waiting for a forever family.

Our fostering for adoption (early permanence) scheme has been launched to protect children from experiencing multiple moves within the care system, and could be the right choice for you if you could support a baby or very young child who is in local authority care, where the plan is likely to be adoption.

We work with our neighbouring local authorities to help local people become approved adopters and we will be there for you throughout the process and beyond to support you and your new family.

Whether you are ready to express an interest in adoption by filling in our online form or you're still finding out more, please take some time to read through our website and view our information leaflets.

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Case study

Siobhan's story

Siobhan's story

Siobhan, 50, was inspired after hearing another woman’s story of adoption who was a similar age and also a single adopter so she picked up the phone and contacted West Sussex County Council’s adoption team.

Siobhan says: “Everybody gets very apprehensive about the adoption panel but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. There are children that desperately need to be adopted but of course their job is to make sure that people adopting are the correct people.

“Obviously you have very lengthy discussions during the assessment with your social worker and they go into every aspect of your life. These children just become your children and I think a large part is due to the excellent work that the social workers do with the matching process.

“I knew I wanted to be a mum, I knew I wanted to adopt and I knew adoption was the right thing for me. As soon as I saw the photo, I just knew that was my child.

“Of course when you first see your child the emotions are overwhelming and like nothing I can really describe. I remember seeing my child and I just remember big blue eyes looking out the window at me and just hearing ‘it’s new mummy’.

“But of course after that, it is a process. You don’t know them, they don’t know you. Once the love comes, it is overwhelming really. I look at her and she’s mine and I don’t feel any differently about her than if I had given birth to her or not. I mean she couldn’t be more mine if I had.

“She is without doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me. If I had to go back and do it all again knowing the trials and tribulations and the process, I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat because I can’t imagine my life without her.”

Fostering for adoption

Fostering for adoption

Fostering for adoption

Our early permanence scheme, fostering for adoption, is used for babies and children who are in local authority care where the plan is likely to be adoption, but who still have a chance of being reunited with their birth family.

Early permanence is designed to provide children with good quality, uninterrupted and consistent care whilst detailed assessments of their birth family are completed and the court decides on the plan for the child. Consistent care for the child reduces possible future harm and it supports the child in developing healthy attachments.

How does it work?

Initially you would be assessed and approved as a dual or temporary foster carer for the child. You will provide the day to day care for the child and will continue to work with the child’s social worker to ensure that the child has all of their needs met.

At the same time, the child’s social worker will continue working with and assessing the child’s birth parents to see if they have made the changes needed to have the child returned to their care. The court will make the final decision on the plan for the child. If the decision is that the child should be adopted, then as a fostering for adoption carer you can go to an adoption linking panel and if panel agree, you will become approved adopters for the child. Alternatively, the court may decide that the child should be returned to their birth family.

Adopting in West Sussex

Why Adopt?

Why Adopt?

Adoption provides a safe, secure and permanent family for a child who can no longer be brought up by their birth parents. Adoptive parents – through a legal process – take on the full parental responsibility for the child, and take on a lifelong commitment to enhance a child’s life.

Children are adopted for a number of reasons. Sometimes birth parents request that their child be placed for adoption. Occasionally, children are abandoned or their birth parents suffer from an illness that prevents them from parenting.

In the majority of cases, however, the courts judge that the birth parents do not have the capacity to care for their children. Often this is due to abuse and neglect or an inability to parent a child safely.

Adoption is an important and life-changing decision. We’re committed to informing prospective adopters about the realities of adoption and to providing on going training and support to our adoptive families, delivered by experienced adoption social workers and support staff.

Information Sessions

Information Sessions

In West Sussex we welcome enquiries from people of all backgrounds. The one thing our adopters have in common is the desire to give a child a secure, loving and permanent home that can meet the needs of a child.

If you would like to find out more about adopting in West Sussex our information sessions are a great place to start. These are held frequently throughout the county; please check our dedicated information sessions page.

LGBT+ couple - Stephen and Simon's story

Our adoption story

Adoptive dads Stephen and Simon share their story

Our adoption story began in early 2016, when we made that important, first-step to become adoptive parents by contacting West Sussex County Council.  

We met with Ben, our lovely Stage 1 advisor and fast forward a few months and we were sitting in a room full of other potential adopters on a three day Preparation Group – a beginners guide to help us prepare for being adoptive parents.

While we are both confident people sitting with a group of strangers, not knowing what to expect, was understandably daunting and actually quite nerve-wracking.

As it turned out, we did not need to be nervous. The course included important issues on the various challenges adoptive parents face bringing up an adoptive child, the types of traumatic backgrounds you could be presented with, plus what to expect and indeed what is expected of you, during the adoption process.

A few months later when all the necessary police, health and financial review checks have been completed we were told we’d passed our Stage 1 review. We become attached to our work based Children’s Nursery as Play Group Attendants to gain valuable childcare experience.  

We were given our own social worker to guide and support us through panel meetings and reviews - she would also eventually bring our lovely son into our lives.

Our social worker was direct, truthful and honest but also sympathetic, friendly and understanding, which made it really easy to connect with her. Shortly before Christmas, our report was submitted and reviewed and our Adoption Panel date was scheduled. When it finally arrived we drove down on a February morning to meet with our social worker and the most supportive guidance worker you could meet, who made it her mission to attend every Panel Meeting to give those going through the process some calm during what is a very stressful couple of hours.

Six friendly faces smiled at us as we walked in, our Social Worker had already been interviewed and gave her opinion of us and now it was our turn.
To be honest, we cannot recall the actual questions as we were so nervous. We returned back into the waiting room for the panels verdict.

A few minutes later and we were driving home crying our hearts out knowing we had just been approved as adoptive dads!

We remember the day we heard from our Social Worker about a potential child on the system she felt was right for us. We met, read the profile and were asked to discuss our next step the following day.

At the beginning of this whole process, we knew it would be extremely difficult when it came to matching with a child. However once you have been through the assessment process you understand that at the very moment when you are reading your potential newest family member’s assessment report, your social worker has been gathering all of this information, to match you to a child that not only are you right for, but who is right for you.

Fast forward a year and we are at home surrounded by toys with the most beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent, funny and independent little boy we could have wished for.

Looking back over the entire process, we felt totally supported by the wonderful social workers.

Adoption is such an amazing avenue for anyone wanting to add to their family. It takes drive, honesty and lots and lots of patience but your determination will be repaid tenfold when you finally get to look into your child’s eyes.

Our advice to prospective adopters is:

  • Don’t underestimate how emotional the process will be.
  • Start to look at your home and garden through the eyes of a child.
  • Evaluate your support network; and
  • Understand not everyone knows how to respond to adoption.

Find out more about adopting through West Sussex County Council.

Here are some quotes from other LGBT couples we've helped through the adoption process.  

Andrew and Ben said,

We finalised our adoption of Daniel two years ago. During the process through assessment, panel, matching, introductions and post placement the team at West Sussex were amazing in their support and advice; we could not have asked for more of them. During the assessment they really get to know you and because of that they were able to find the perfect match for us!
I should also say that at no point did we feel in any way treated differently because of our sexuality, we were just people who wanted to expand our family.
The process of adoption can be long, but I cannot stress strongly enough how rewarding it is. Daniel has been with us for three years now and is truly our son, our loving little boy. He has changed our lives in ways that I cannot describe or express. This has been a truly rewarding experience and we would certainly do it again.

Sue and Kate said,

My wife and I are currently progressing through the adoption assessment process with West Sussex County Council. The adoption team are great, fully inclusive, welcoming and supportive to all potential adopters. We have met lots of other LGBT adopters at different stages of the process and all have felt encouraged and supported by the great team at West Sussex.

Make an adoption enquiry with us now.


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