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Adoption Services

Adoptive parents are ordinary people and come from all backgrounds, cultures and walks of life.  For a number of reasons some children cannot remain with their birth parents.  For these children, a permanent family is sought to care for and support them throughout their childhood into adulthood.  The adoption process gives adopters full parental rights and responsibilities for these children.

East Dunbartonshire Adoption Services are registered with the Care Commission and subject to annual inspection. Inspection reports can be viewed on the Care Inspectorate web site.

Who can become an adoptive parent?

Individuals can become adoptive parents, as long as they are aged 21 or over.  

Also included:

  • People who are living together as husband and wife, married or in a civil partnership, or in an enduring family relationship for a period of two years prior to application. However, if one partner is employed in a job where this has meant that they spend significant time apart and away from the home address, this will be taken into account.

The criteria for adopting includes:

  • If a couple a member of the couple is domiciled in a part of the British Isle;
  • Each member of a couple has been resident in Britain for a period of at least one year ending with the date of the application;
  • There be no more than 45 years between the youngest adopter and the age of the child to be adopted;
  • Applicants will normally live in East Dunbartonshire or within reasonable travelling distance. In exceptional circumstances, to meet the needs of particular children, we will accept applications out with the region;
  • If applicants have opted for medical interventions in seeking to become parents these must be concluded for six months prior to application. We acknowledge that the emotional journey may never be resolved but this will be fully discussed as part of the assessment;
  • If wishing to apply to adopt for a second or subsequent time, one year must have elapsed following the placement of the previous child;
  • Applicants who wish to adopt children under 12 must be non-smokers. If either applicant has ceased smoking then this should be for a period of more than one year prior to application;
  • Applications will not be accepted if there is a dog in the household from a breed registered under the Dangerous Dog Act;
  • Applicants must undergo enhanced Disclosure Scotland checks and some offences will preclude any applications from being accepted;
  • Applicants must also undergo a medical assessment and some health conditions may suggest that at that point applicants would not be suitable for proceeding. If this is the case this will be discussed fully with yourselves and it may be that if your health concerns are addressed you may be able to reapply at a later date;

We are looking to recruit adopters from all walks of life. Adopters need to be open and flexible in their willingness to help children to build trust and emotional security in their new family. You will also need to be able to help a child make sense of their background.

Children who may need adopted

Children who need to be adopted come from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds and may have experienced loss, trauma, neglect or abuse.

  • Some children are in sibling groups who need to be placed together;
  • Children who have been abandoned by their birth parents;
  • Children who have experienced the death of their parent/s;
  • Some children have disabilities and their future development is unclear;
  • Babies who may have developmental uncertainty due to their parents’ use of drugs and /or alcohol, mental health and domestic violence issues.

The process

The process starts with an initial visit from a member of the Care Planning and Placement Team who, in conjunction with their management team, agree to progressing an enquiry further. If for any reason this is not the case, you will be fully informed by the worker/s you have met.

Preparatory groups are run by the authority and on successful completion of this, applicants are asked to complete an application form. Once you have submitted an application form, you will then be allocated an assessing social worker who will undertake an in-depth assessment of your circumstances and lifestyle. This will normally take about six months and will include health checks, Disclosure Scotland check, references and Local Authority check.

Once your assessment report has been completed you will be presented to the Adoption and Permanency Panel.

Matching a child

Once applicants are approved as adopters, the adoption agency will attempt to match them with a child, taking into consideration race, cultural background, religion, etc. Once a likely match is found, the adopter/s should be given comprehensive information on the child and their needs. The proposed match will be presented to an Adoption Panel, where a decision will be taken on whether to proceed with the placement.

When the child is placed

The child will move to live with the prospective adopters (their new parents), after a planned period of introductions, which can last for several weeks, depending on the child’s needs. Social Workers will remain involved to support the family and child until at least an Adoption Order is granted.

Adoption Order

A court can only make an Adoption Order when a child has lived with the adopters for a minimum period of time.

The court will also require to know whether the birth parent/s have given their consent to the adoption. If consent to the adoption has not already been sought, or if the birth parent/s do not agree to the adoption, the court appoints a Reporting Officer.

The Reporting Officer will find out if the birth parent/s understand what adoption is and witness their consent to the adoption order being made.

If consent is not given, the court can grant an adoption order under certain circumstances. An independent person, called a curator ad litem, will be appointed by the court to investigate and advise the court on whether an adoption order should be made.

If consent is given by the birth parent/s, the court hearing will be fairly brief. The court will read a report, prepared by the social workers from the adoption agency, and briefly speak with the adopters.

Following this, the decision will be made immediately. If the adoption is being contested by the birth parents, the court hearing is likely to take longer and is more complicated. Either way, it is recommended that legal advice is sought by the adopters prior to undertaking this legal process.

Post Adoption Support

If you have adopted from East Dunbartonshire Council it is our responsibility to ensure that you have post adoption support. If you have adopted a child from outwith East Dunbartonshire Council we will work with that authority about providing support to you. The child's authority has responsibility for this for 3 years post adoption, after this it reverts to the Authority in which you live. Whatever the area of support required we will work with you to assess your needs and inform a support plan. Sometimes we will support you directly or we may refer you to an independent provider of post adoption support who can undertake specific individual and group work with adopters and adoptees. Plans can also include specific supports from health and education or other agencies.

Adult Adoptees

East Dunbartonshire Council commissions Barnardos Scotland Adoption Support Services to provide independent individual and group support to adult adoptees placed by East Dunbartonshire Council. They can be contacted directly on 0141 419 4700 or email