Adopt a child that you already know (non-agency)

Non-agency adoption is the name given to adoption applications which involve a child who has not been placed with the prospective adopter by an adoption agency.

The main categories of non-agency adoption are:

  • step-parent adoption (application by the partner of the parent of a child)
  • applications by local authority foster carers
  • applications by relatives of the child

Who can apply

A close relative or private foster carer can make an application for non-agency adoption if:

  • the child has had their home with the applicant (or one of the applicants if part of a couple)
  • the child has lived with them for over 3 years (whether continuous or not) during the period of five years preceding the application

A foster carer can make an application after the child has lived with them for a year.

Alternatives to non-agency adoption

As new relationships form it is not uncommon for a parent to want to share some parental responsibility.

There is more than one way to share your parental responsibility with someone.

Instead of you adopting your partners child, you could:

  • enter into a formal agreement with all those who hold parental responsibility (if you are married to the child's resident parent)
  • apply to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order or a Child Arrangement Order

Contact us

If you intend to adopt a child that you already know, you are required to notify your local authority.

The notification must be given not more than 2 years, or less than 3 months, before the date on which the application for the adoption order is made.

Contact the adoption team on: