Adoption criteria

We've found that many people have misconceptions about who can adopt. This page provides you with some basic information about our essential criteria and the types of things we will consider as part of the adoption process.

We need adopters from all walks of life to meet the needs of a wide range of children. Gateshead Council do not discriminate on the grounds on gender, ethnic origin, class, culture, sexuality, marital status or whether you are employed or unemployed - what is important are the skills and qualities you can offer and your ability to provide a child with a safe and secure environment.

However, you must

  • be over 21 years old
  • not have been convicted of a serious offence
  • live in the UK

The following factors are also likely to be discussed with your social worker around the initial application stage:

Fertility treatment

Most people will wish to explore as fully as possible having a birth child before considering adoption. However, we feel it is very important to have a period of adjustment to the prospect of not having a birth child before exploring adoption and so we do not generally accept applications from people undergoing fertility treatment or those who are actively still trying for a baby.   

Health conditions

As part of the adoption process you would be required to have a medical examination so we can be sure you have a reasonable chance of remaining fit to care for a child into adulthood. This doesn't mean that any medical condition or history of mental ill health will stop you adopting but you do need to discuss any issues with your social worker at the earliest possible stage to help us decide whether a further medical report is needed.


Disabled people are not excluded from adopting. Gateshead Council looks for abilities in any potential adopters which will balance any difficulty your disability may cause you in caring for a child against what you have to offer a child together with any support you have. As with any medical condition, we may organise an early medical so we can get an opinion from our agency medical advisor.


Your social worker will discuss if you have a religion and the extent to which you practice it. This helps us consider whether your religion will influence the type of child that could be placed with you.

Existing children

We welcome applications from experienced parents, particularly where the existing children are older or adult. If your child is younger, we need to ensure that adoption is right for them and there will be a sufficient age gap.

Upper age limit

There is no upper age limit for adoption but you must have the energy to care for demanding children, and be able to parent a child of the age group you are seeking to adopt when that child enters adulthood.


We prefer to place children in non smoking households, due to the well documented risks of passive smoking.


If you have any pets, we will ask need to consider this and explore with you whether the animal is likely to pose a risk to a child's safety so that an informed decision can be made. We can also provide information on introducing your pet to a child or children joining your family.

Find out more on our questions about adoption page.

External links

After Adoption

Adoption UK



Contact us

Adoption Team
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 6388

Fax: 0191 433 6396

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