Who can adopt or foster?
There are many different children needing adoption or long-term fostering, so agencies are looking for:
Any person over the age of 21 years old from all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
The main criteria would be that you are over 21, and some agencies have age restrictions for people wanting to adopt babies. As a general rule agencies would prefer that prospective carers were no more than 40 years older than children being placed with them.
Families with children already
If you already have children in your family agencies will usually want there to be a least a two-year age gap between them and any children placed. This is to avoid any direct competitions between the children, especially given that the development of many children being placed is delayed. It is also important to think about how your children will react to the need to share your time and attention, and how tolerant they could be of another child's tantrums, destructive or aggressive behaviour.
Families without children already
If you do not have children of your own and you have been having infertility treatment, then agencies will expect you to have completed the treatment before you apply to adopt or long term foster.
Single people or couples
Single people are now viewed positively by most agencies when placing children for adoption or long-term fostering, although there is a need for you to have thought about who would be available to offer you practical and emotional support. Black and asian families are welcomed, as adoption agencies recognise the importance of placing children with families who reflect their ethnic origin and can help them achieve positive sense of identity.