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In November 2002, the Adoption and Children Act passed into law and, for the first time, allowed unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to apply for joint adoption. You can also adopt as an individual.

The legislation came into effect on 30 December 2005.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act, 2010. This means an adoption agency must assess you fairly, using the same criteria. They could not turn down an adoption application just because the applicant was LGBT.

How to adopt

Applications for adoption must be made to an adoption agency. These may be run by the council or an approved agency.

The adoption assessment is lengthy and thorough. If you are a couple applying to adopt you will both be assessed and will need to demonstrate the stable and enduring nature of your relationship.

Following a successful assessment the application is referred to an adoption panel. If you're approved by the panel, you'll go through a matching process. This involves a child or young person being placed with you. Depending on the success of this placement, an application can be made to the court for an adoption order. At this stage further reports will be placed before the court to help them reach a final decision.

Find out more about becoming an adoptive parent, or contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 0800 083 77 44.

Adoption leave

Once a child has been placed with a couple, they must decide which one of them will elect to take adoption leave (the ‘primary adopter’). The other will normally be entitled to parental leave. If the primary adopter returns to work before the end of their adoption leave entitlement, the remaining period of adoption leave can be shared between the two adopting parents, in accordance with the rules on shared parental leave.

Fostering

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are also eligible to foster, as individuals or as a couple. Fostering involves providing a home for a young person who cannot live with their parents because of problems with their families, or because they are going through a difficult period of their life. There are several types of fostering. Some foster parents provide emergency or short-term placements for children while problems are resolved. Others provide long-term foster care.

People applying to become foster parents will experience a similar process to those applying to become adopters. It takes about 6 months.

Find out more about becoming a foster carer or contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 0800 083 77 44.

Stonewall also has information on adoption and fostering.

Also see