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Non-agency adoption (stepparents)

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 principal categories of non-agency adoption are:

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

Residence requirements for non-agency adoption

In the majority of cases, the child must have lived with the prospective adopter for a minimum duration of time before the application can be made:

  • stepparent adoption: No less than 6 months
  • local authority foster parents: No less than one year
  • in any other case: No less than three years

If a prospective adopter does not fulfil the residence requirement which applies to their circumstances, it is still possible to make an application but leave of the court is required first.