Adoption Assessment Process


Why not take a look at our 'What is adoption booklet', it will provide you with useful information, alternatively you can contact our friendly adoption team who will ask you for some basic information about you and/or your partner and help you find out what adoption involves and support you to make the decision as to whether it is the right option for you and your family.

  • Download a copy of our “What is Adoption” booklet (PDF,1.6mb, 5 pages).  
  • Use the details found in our ‘Contact’ tab to speak to the adoption team who can tell you more about adopting with the Isle of Wight Council.
  • Look out for one of our information events - find out more details on these by checking out the events section or by following us on Facebook or Twitter. You can see this on our homepage.


Next step - Pre stage - Initial enquiry

If you would like to start the process and are keen to become an adoptive parent, please complete our Adoption Initial Enquiry Form.

Once we have received the adoption initial enquiry form from you we will contact you within 5 days to arrange a home visit. After this initial home visit you are ready to progress to start stage 1 of the adoption process, which  includes completing a 'Registration of Interest'.


The process

The assessment process takes around six months. The assessment includes police checks, employment references and a full medical. We need to find out about you and/or your partner so that we can build a full picture of your life, experience and skills. This gives us the greatest chance of ensuring that you will be able to provide a happy stable home for the rest of the child or children’s lives.

Stage 1 - Registration of Interest
At this point you will be allocated a Social Worker who will remain with you throughout the process. This will ensure that you have a level of consistency and support required to enable the assessment to be completed.
Stage 1 begins when we accept your 'Registration of Interest'. We will then start to gather information about you and take up references and undertake checks which include:

  • Personal references.
  • Police checks (here in the UK and overseas if you have lived abroad).
  • Health medical with your GP.
  • Employment checks, including any voluntary work with children or vulnerable adults.
  • We will also encourage you to do your own research and learning by way of reading and undertaking voluntary childcare work where necessary.
  • This stage includes the requirement of each applicant to complete the stage 1 pack which includes information about your past life and history.
  • We might meet with you to talk about anything that has arisen which needs to be discussed in more detail before progressing further with the assessment.
  • When all the checks and references are complete we will make a decision together about whether or not to proceed to Stage 2.

Stage 1 should take no more than two months, but it is recognised that this may take longer depending on your individual circumstances and whether checks have been returned. If we agree for you to progress, you will then proceed to stage 2.

Stage 2 - Assessment
This stage takes four months to complete.
We will assess whether we feel you are suitable to adopt. We will arrange a number of home visits to discuss your personal circumstances in more detail and to complete the Prospective Adopters Report which provides a picture of you, your family background, your lifestyle, why you want to adopt and your potential as an adoptive parent.

Stage 3 - Isle of Wight Adoption Panel
Your completed assessment will be referred to the Isle of Wight Council’s Adoption Panel who will make a recommendation on your suitability to adopt. A panel date will be arranged and you will be invited to attend. Panel’s recommendation will be given to the Agency Decision Maker for them to make a final decision on whether or not you may be suitable to adopt.

Stage 4- Matching and linking
Once you are approved your social worker will support you with being matched with a child or children if approved for more than one child. The information gathered during your assessment helps us to make the right match and ensure that you are the right family for a child or children.

It is difficult to know how long it will take for you to be matched with a child and some adoptive families wait longer than others for a variety of reasons. This process is called family match which is common amongst local authorities across the country.

During the matching stage you will get to hear lots about the child from the social worker (if matched with an Island child), the foster carer and also our Agency Medical Advisor. You will also see photos of the child and have the opportunity to have a first glimpse of the child. This is an opportunity to see, hear and experience the real little person rather than the information alone. Then if you wish to proceed with a matching the proposed match will be referred to the Isle of Wight's Adoption Panel who will make a recommendation about the match. This recommendation is then given to the Agency Decision Maker, who makes the final decision.

You will then have a period of introductions which will help you to get to know the child, their routines and their likes and dislikes, before they move into your home.

If matched with a mainland child all relevant information, meetings, matching panel and introductions will take place via the Local Authority that is placing the child e.g. it will be their medical advisor, their panel and their ADM.

Stage 5 - Adoption order
Once the child or children move into your home, we will visit you very regularly to support you and the child and generally make sure that everything is going well. The placement is also more formally reviewed and after the second review we will discuss the timing of your application for an Adoption Order and your social worker will guide you through the court proceedings.

Stage 6- Adoption support
Our support does not end with the making of an Adoption Order and we aim to support you from the moment you pick up the phone to make an enquiry about adoption and for as long as you and your family need us.
At the Isle of Wight Council's Adoption we have a comprehensive and friendly Adoption Support Service.