Local Authorities

All the 32 local authorities in Scotland operate as adoption agencies. They have a legal duty to plan for the children they are looking after. This includes taking forward plans for adoption for some of those children. They also have to make sure there is an adoption service in their area for a whole range of people, including adults who wish to adopt. Local authorities have a legal duty to provide certain post adoption support services too. They usually have their own programme for preparing and assessing families to adopt and they may also have an arrangement with a voluntary adoption agency to do some of this work on their behalf.

When recruiting prospective adoptive families local authorities generally start with an emphasis on meeting the needs of the children they look after. When adoption is planned for a child, they will look at their own approved adopters and hope to be able to place the child without looking further afield. They may, expect you to remain within their pool of adopters for a period before looking at any children from elsewhere.

Voluntary Adoption Agencies

There are two voluntary adoption agencies based in Edinburgh: St Andrew’s Children’s Society and Scottish Adoption. In Glasgow there is the long established voluntary agency of St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society. Barnardo’s adoption service operates across Scotland.

As voluntary agencies do not have the statutory responsibility for children, they will normally be keen from the beginning to help you find out about children who could be placed with you from any local authority. They are likely to have encouraged you to think widely about the children you could consider as local authorities will usually look further afield for families if they don’t have suitable adopters already available themselves.