Skip to main content
Caption: floating buttons
View East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership View East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership
spacer_valid 2
View Working Together View Working Together
Caption: main heading

6.3.1 Publicity and Recruitment


Informing, Counselling and the Preparation of Prospective Adopters Procedure


Statutory Adoption Guidance

Please note: There is a shortened process for prospective adopters who have already been approved as foster carers / adopters, see Early Permanence: Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters Procedure.

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.


Caption: contents table
1. Eligibility
2. Recruitment Strategy
3. Publicity and Recruitment Procedure
  3.1 General Recruitment
  3.2 Targeted Recruitment
  3.3 Responding to Enquiries
4. Registration of Interest in Adoption

1. Eligibility

Caption: Eligibility table
1. The Adoption Agency operates within the Equal Opportunities Policy of East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Adoption applications will therefore be welcomed from all sections of the community and no prospective applicant will receive less favourable treatment on account of their gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, political or religious beliefs. However the Council will always consider that the welfare of the child must take precedence in any circumstances where the identified needs and best interests of an individual child may conflict with policy.

There is a legal requirement for adoption applicants to be at least 21 years, but otherwise no applicant will be disadvantaged by unnecessary conditions or requirements, such as age or health. All applications from prospective adopters will be considered on the basis of the applicant's potential capacity to look after children requiring adoptive placements in a safe and responsible way that meets their developmental needs. In accordance with this principle:

  • The age and health of an applicant should not give rise to concerns regarding their ability to care for a child throughout the duration of their childhood;
  • In order to safeguard the health of children being placed for adoption, children who are less than 2 years of age will not normally be placed with prospective adopters who smoke;
  • Applications will be progressed only when there is a clear likelihood that a match with a child will be possible. Therefore:
    • Adoption applications will not be progressed whilst applicants are undergoing fertility treatment;
    • Applicants who severely restrict the range of children they can consider (i.e. can only accept a healthy baby) are unlikely to be considered for assessment.
3. Adoptive families will normally be recruited from within the geographical boundaries of East Riding of Yorkshire Council. However the Council will consider approving applicants who live outside of the Councils' boundary when this is necessary to meet the specific needs of a particular child.

2. Recruitment Strategy

Caption: section 1, Key Points

The Adoption Team is responsible for developing and implementing a general strategy to recruit adoptive parents. This is likely to involve:

  • Ongoing activity such as the preparation and dissemination of general information (e.g. leaflets, posters, newspaper articles), to raise awareness and understanding in the community of adoption and the needs children requiring adoption, or providing speaker for community groups;
  • Specific, time limited, recruitment campaigns to advertise particular needs arising in the service, or to link with local relevant events or national initiatives. This may involve newspaper, radio or television coverage, or the manning of information stalls in public areas.

    The aim of general recruitment is to inform potential applicants of the nature of adoption, the needs of the children requiring adoptive families, the qualities adoptive parents need to posses, the assessment process, and the post placement support and help available to adoptive families.

    The recruitment strategy, will be set out One Adoption North and Humber Statement of Purpose.
2. It may be necessary to undertake targeted recruitment in respect of an individual child or children, when their needs are such that the general recruitment strategy has not, or is unlikely to attract appropriate enquiries that will lead to the child being matched with a suitable family, and other efforts to identify a family.

In planning publicity material to recruit an adoptive family for an individual child the following points must be considered:

  • Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child must be the paramount consideration in carrying out any recruitment activity;
  • The child, their parents, or any person with Parental Responsibility must be consulted and their wishes and feeling ascertained and taken into account when planning any targeted recruitment for the child;
  • Consideration can be given to the use of photographs or video of the child, and the use of their first name in any publicity material where this is likely to promote the welfare of the child and consent has been given by:
    • The child (if of sufficient age and understanding);
    • A parent or person with Parental Responsibility in respect of an accommodated child;
    • The relevant Area Manager for children subject to a Care Order. The consent of the child's parent or person with Parental Responsibility should also be obtained whenever possible.
  • Careful thought should be given to the distribution of any publicity material, in respect of the media and type of publications utilised, and their potential audience. The internet will not be used for targeted recruitment for individual children.
4. All enquiries from potential adoptive families must be dealt with promptly. Initial enquires to the Adoption Team must be followed up by sending written information about the recruitment, assessment and approval process within 5 working days. The information is aimed at allowing the enquirer to make an informed decision about whether they wish to pursue their interest further. In planning any specific recruitment campaign, consideration must be given to the volume of enquires likely to be generated and arrangements put in place to respond to this in a timely manner.
5. Enquiries may be received from an individual or couple expressing an interest in adopting a particular child. Such enquiries may arise when a Permanence Plan involving adoption is being made for a Child in Care. An expression of interest may come from an extended family member or other significant adult in the child's life such as a family friend, a current or previous carer. The same requirement to provide written information will apply, and initially the enquiry should be dealt with by the Adoption Team in the same way as other enquiries.

3. Publicity and Recruitment Procedure

3.1 General Recruitment

  1. The Adoption Team Manager will be responsible for formulating and implementing the recruitment strategy outlined in the Statement of Purpose, and for reviewing this annually;
  2. The Adoption Team Manager will co-ordinate any specific recruitment campaigns, keeping the Adoption Panel informed and provide feedback on outcomes.

    All publicity material used in campaigns should be discussed and agreed with the Child Care Resources Manager.

3.2 Targeted Recruitment

  1. The need for targeted recruitment for an individual child or children will be discussed at the initial adoption core group meeting. If considered necessary, this will be recorded in the child's adoption plan;
  2. The child's social worker will discuss any plans for targeted recruitment with the child and their parent or person with Parental Responsibility. The views of all concerned should be recorded on the file;
  3. The Adoption link worker will seek agreement to targeted recruitment from the Adoption Team Manager, who will oversee and authorise any expenditure on advertising;
  4. Prior to any recruitment activity being undertaken, the social worker should complete the publicity consent form and arrange for this to be signed by the child (when appropriate), the child's parent / person with Parental Responsibility and the relevant Area Manager when the child is subject to a Care Order or care proceedings. The original should be retained on the child's adoption file and copies given to the child (if signed by them), the child's parent or person with Parental Responsibility and a copy sent to the Adoption Team;
  5. When Care Proceedings are in progress, the social worker must consult with legal services to clarify whether consent from the court will be required prior to initiating any advertising;
  6. The adoption link worker will liaise with the child's social worker and foster carer, and involve the child where appropriate, in preparing any publicity material. This will include a pen picture or profile of the child to be used in advertising. The child should be consulted and kept informed of progress at all times.

3.3 Responding to Enquiries

On receipt of an enquiry from a prospective adopter, a referral form should be completed and the details recorded on SWIFT.

Enquirers should not be turned away on the basis that their ethnicity and culture is not shared with those children waiting to be placed with adoptive parents.

Enquirers should not be turned away because of their age - there is no upper age restriction on applying to be adoptive parents. Any practice that classifies couples / single people in a way that effectively rules out adoption because of their status, age or because they and the child do not share the same racial or cultural background is not child-centred and is unacceptable.

Potential applicants may approach the First4Adoption or the adoption agency for general information about adoption. This can include, for example, information on the legal implications of adoption, eligibility criteria (see the Assessment of Prospective Adopters Procedure, Criteria for Prospective Adopters), the characteristics of children awaiting adoption and the approval process.

Where a potential applicant decides, after receiving general information, that they would like to pursue an adoption further, they may approach the adoption agency for more detailed information about adoption.

This information should be provided within 10 working days through an information session, a visit, pre-planned telephone call or similar arrangement with the potential adopter. This may need to take place in the evening or at the weekend to fit around the potential adopters’ life style and working patterns. This is the minimum response at this stage; further information sessions may be provided if applicable.

Detailed information should enable potential adopters to consider better whether they want to proceed with the approval process and to reflect on the parenting needs of the children awaiting adoption. Detailed information should also enable them to consider their expectations of adoption, and the consequences for them and their family of caring for an adopted child who may have a range of complex needs.

Where an enquiry is about inter-country adoption, it should be established whether the potential adopter has considered adopting a Child in Care. Many people believe that they would not be able to adopt a child in this country but would be able to adopt a child from abroad. Where prospective applicants are likely to be considered unsuitable to adopt a Child in Care in England, they should not be advised to apply to adopt a child from overseas.

There is a shortened process for prospective adopters who have already been approved as foster carers / adopters - see Early Permanence: Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters Procedure.

4. Registration of Interest in Adoption

Once a potential adopter has received information about adoption they will either decide that adoption is not right for them at that point in time or will wish to move to the next stage of the process. Should they wish to move to the next stage, they will need to formally register their interest to enter Stage One of the approval process - the Pre-Assessment Stage (see the Assessment of Prospective Adopters Procedure, Stage One - The Pre-Assessment Process). From this point they are referred to as ‘prospective adopters’. Prospective adopters will register their interest via a form which will include as a minimum:

  • Name and address of the potential adopters;
  • Authority to commence Stage One checks;
  • Confirmation that the potential adopters have not registered their approval with another agency;
  • A reminder that the potential adopters should be contactable in the week following their registration of interest, and a request for times for contact during that period;
  • Questions to ensure the potential adopters meet the eligibility criteria (see the Assessment of Prospective Adopters Procedure, Criteria for Prospective Adopters).

A decision should be reached within 5 working days from receipt of a registration of interest whether or not to accept this, unless there are exceptional circumstances which mean that longer is needed. To help the agency make this decision, it may be necessary to arrange a visit, have a meeting or a pre-planned telephone call (whichever is considered most appropriate in each individual case) with the prospective adopter. There may be circumstances where it would not be appropriate for the agency to accept a registration of interest, such as where there is lack of capacity to take on more prospective adopters. In cases like this, the agency should redirect the prospective adopter to the First4Adoption or another agency which is currently recruiting.

The agency must not refuse to accept registrations of interest on the grounds of, for example, a prospective adopter’s ethnicity, age, health, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or because they do not share the same ethnicity, culture or religious beliefs with the children waiting for an adoptive family. Prospective adopters may only be excluded if they do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Where the agency declines a registration of interest it should provide the prospective adopter with a clear written explanation of the reasons why, and offer them the choice of going directly to another agency or to the First4Adoption for signposting to another agency.

Where the agency accepts a registration of interest it must set up a prospective adopter’s case record in respect of the prospective adopter - see the Adoption Records - Contents Procedure, Applicants to Adopt.