Step parent adoption

Adoption as a step parent will result in the holder of the Adoption Order becoming a child's legal parent forever and being granted parental responsibility. The Order will break the legal relationship between a child and the other parent and their wider family, which includes the child losing rights to maintenance and inheritances. This is a permanent decision and cannot be reversed at a later date. The child's surname will also be changed unless the court declines this.

This Order will remain in force even if you and your partner divorce or separate. An Adoption Order application is recognised in the courts as a very significant decision for a child and as such the court will only make this Order if it is satisfied that it is absolutely necessary and in the child's best interests.

Step dad with adopted child

How do I apply to adopt a step child?

If you are interested in adopting your step child then contact us and a duty worker will talk to you about your situation and give you advice regarding step parent adoption and other legal options that are open to you.

  • Should step parent adoption be the right route for you, you have a duty to notify us (Local Authority) three months prior to submitting an application to court.
  • We will then allocate a member of the adoption team to carry out an assessment of the perspective adopter and provide a copy of the assessment to the court.
  • There is a fee for this assessment.

To declare your intention to adopt your step child please write to: The manager of the Adoption Recruitment and Assessment Team, Scott House, 5 George Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3AD

What does the assessment involve?

In order to be approved as an adopter we (Local Authority) will complete an assessment about you and your family called an Annex A report. The assessment looks at the following:

  • Your step child's needs both now and in the future, their wishes and feelings and what is considered to be in their best interests.
  • The report also considers the views and roles of everybody with parental responsibility
  • The report considers the applicants suitability to adopt which includes their capacity to care for a child, their personal history and the relationship with the other parent and whether or not any other Order should be considered and if this is in the best interests of the child.

Who will undertake the step parent adoption assessment?

A step parent adoption assessment is undertaken by a Social Worker from the Adoption, Recruitment and Assessment Team. The assessment process will normally take between 6-10 weeks and will then be either provided directly to the court if we are directed to do this or to the lead applicant.

As part of the Adoption Process the court may ask Cafcass to become involved. Cafcass’ role is to make sure the adults understand what the adoption means for them and the child, and that the birth parents really do agree to it.

How much does the assessment cost?

Applicants are required to pay £69 for their application which covers the cost of the DBS checks and seeking references. These costs are in line with other Local Authorities. Payment of this sum does not guarantee a positive assessment, however is required in order to proceed with your application.

For further information, please contact the Adoption Recruitment and Assessment Team on 0300 123 1093 or email