Being over the age of 40 does not prevent a person being eligible to adopt a child.

Marital Status

Being single is not a barrier to adopting.


Having a low household income does not rule a person out from adopting a child


Being unemployed is not a barrier to adoption.


Having a criminal conviction does not automatically rule a person out from adoption

Sexual Orientation

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are able to adopt

You have to be at least 21

In fact, you don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership to adopt. Every year many single people and unmarried couples successfully adopt children. You must be over 21 to apply to adopt a child – but there is no upper age limit.


A prospective adopter’s health, financial circumstances and employment status will always be explored as part of an adoption assessment but health conditions, low income or being unemployed will not in themselves automatically exclude a person from being approved to adopt.

Criminal Record

A criminal record will also need to be considered as part of the assessment process but with the exception of certain specified offences will not necessarily rule someone out.