Your lifestyle and personal circumstances

Families that already have children

All your previous experience as a parent will be a great help in your role as an adoptive parent. Generally we would look to place a child with you who is younger than your own. It's usually best if there is at least a two-year age gap between existing children and any adopted child. This is because we do not wish for existing children to feel threatened, or feel they have to compete with a child their own age. It's also to increase attachments between the children.

The views of your own children, including grown up children, about sharing their lives and family with an adopted child are very important and their wishes and views would need to be explored in the assessment.


There is no age limit to adopt, but legally you must be over 21 years of age. Adoption is about placing children with families who will be able to parent and support them through childhood and into adulthood. Your age and health might have an impact upon the age and needs of a child that we recommend you as suitable to adopt.

Marital and relationship status

Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, a couple living together or single, we want to hear from you.  We have many successful single adopters. As with any family, what is important is that you can demonstrate that you are able to offer a child what they need.

We are happy to accept applications from couples and individuals, whatever their sexuality, who have strong and supportive relationships to meet the challenges of parenting our children. There has never been a law preventing lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals from adopting children but following the implementation of the Adoption and Children Act, same-sex couples can apply for adoption jointly in England and Wales.

If you live together as a couple, you must show stability and permanence in your relationship and be confident that it can withstand the demands that an adoption placement is likely to bring. We would expect that couples have lived together for at least two years prior to accepting an application.

Applicants who have experienced a significant life event, such as a bereavement, separation or divorce are strongly recommended to wait at least 12 months before applying to adopt. This is to ensure that you have had sufficient time to adapt to the changes or come to terms with your loss.


You can apply to adopt if you have a disability. We will need to know more about the nature of your disability and how this may affect your ability to care for a child through to adulthood. We'll ask you about this when you first get in touch, this way we can seek advice from our medical adviser in accepting an application.

Home ownership and spare bedroom

You do not need to own your own home to become an adoptive parent.  However, your accommodation needs to have enough space for a child or children.

We believe that children of whatever age require their own personal space when joining a new family and therefore an adopted child or siblings would need their own bedroom. Children under the age of six months would initially sleep within your bedroom, but once they reach six months old they would need to have their own room.

If you live in rented accommodation we may ask you to provide written evidence from your landlord regarding the security of your tenancy prior to accepting an application.

Pets in the house

Pet owners do not usually have a problem with their application unless the pets are known to be dangerous.

If you are a dog owner you will be asked how you control your pet and if you own many pets, you will need to show that there are no health risks and you have enough time to care for a child. An assessment is undertaken on all pets in the home.

Living outside Lancashire or outside the UK

We would normally try to work with families based in Lancashire but can consider families from outside the area if we feel they would be able accept our children who are waiting for a family because of their particular needs.

You must have been a legal resident in the UK for at least one year before applying to adopt a British child. This includes British citizens and residents of the Republic of Ireland.

Employment and finances

We are looking for families from all sections of society as long as you are able to meet the general additional living costs that parenting a child entails. Whether you work full time, part time or are not in employment, you can still apply to adopt.

Generally we require that one of the adopters be at home for at least nine months, preferably at least one year to care for young children. If you are adopting as a couple this can be shared between you, however, the needs of the child must remain the paramount consideration.

To provide stability for the child, it would be better not to use substitute childcare, at least initially. All children need time and energy but children being placed for adoption have (in addition) experienced some loss, separation and disruption in their lives so it so crucial that they are provided with a degree of stability when placed with their permanent family.

To assist the early stages of a placement most people are entitled to adoption leave and employers are often sympathetic to requests for part-time hours, flexible working arrangements or extensions to leave arrangements.

You can find out more about adoption leave and pay on the website.

Full time workers who can demonstrate they have the time to meet the child’s needs can adopt.

Criminal records

We look at all circumstances individually. You are only automatically debarred from adoption if you have a record of offences against children, or significant offences of violence.

Get in touch

If you're thinking about adoption then we'd love to help.

Enquire about adoption

If you'd prefer to speak to someone, then give us a call on
0300 123 6723