Who can adopt

Find out if you are able to adopt a child and the qualities you need to have.

Are you ready to make a lifelong commitment to improving a child’s life through adoption?

If you are thinking about adoption, this is a question you are likely to have been considering long and hard. Our aim is to answer any questions you may have and help you take the first steps towards adopting a child in West Sussex.

"I didn’t worry about being gay – I was more worried about the fact that I was single!" Jo, single adopter

Our adoptive parents come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

The one thing that all our approved adopters have in common is the desire to give a child a safe, loving and permanent home.

You do not need to:

  • be under a particular age - as long as a you can meet the demands of caring for a child
  • own your own home - as long as the building is suitable for caring for a child, it does not matter if you own or rent it
  • be married or in a civil partnership - single people and co-habiting couples can adopt
  • have a clean criminal record - although offences against children immediately prohibit a person from adopting a child, other convictions are considered on an individual basis.

However, you do need to be:

  • over the age of 21
  • clear of criminal convictions against children
  • resident in the United Kingdom and 'habitually resident' for at least one year before applying
  • in good physical and mental health and able to nurture a child through to adulthood.

We also have a specific requirement that if you are adopting a child under five years old you must have a non-smoking household.

You can find additional information on the adoption process in our information pack.

Last updated:
27 September 2019
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