The Adoption Register for England is a national statutory database managed by Adoption Match on behalf of the Department for Education. The Register stores the details of children waiting to be adopted and details of approved adopters waiting to be matched with a child. Practitioners and adopters can search the database for potential matches. The database is secure and compliant with ISO27001 accreditation. The Adoption Register has been operating since 2001.
The Adoption Match team also carries out a more intensive search process considering all approved adopters with dedicated Regional Business Partners, working closely with adoption agencies.
Legal Requirements for Agencies
All children who have been approved for adoption for three months, who have no active links being pursued, must be referred to the Adoption Register for England.
All adopters who have been approved to adopt for three months or more with no active links being pursued, and who are in agreement, must be referred to the Adoption Register for England. Adopters can choose to refer to the Adoption Register for England immediately, either by self-referring or through their adoption agency.
Both children and adopters can be referred to the Adoption Register for England at any point after they have been approved. There is no requirement to wait until 3 months has passed.
Finding a match
We have a dedicated team of Regional Business Partners working to assist you in obtaining the best possible chance at being matched. The team can give guidance on any clarifications that need to be made to your profile and will be available to liaise with your practitioner regarding any other matching tools that we could implement to assist you in the matching process for example attending an Exchange Day or Adoption Activity Day.
Find out how the Adoption Register works and how you can use the database to search for children.
Following a pilot, we are delighted to inform you that direct access to the Adoption Register for England is now possible for all adopters.
For help and information please contact us on 0345 222 9058 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adoption Exchange Days
Adoption Exchange Days are events for approved adopters looking for children, and they feature the profiles of children who are waiting for adoptive families nationally. The Department for Education commissions 6 National Adoption Exchange Days per year from Adoption Match.
Adoption Activity Days
Adoption Activity Days are a way of adopters being more actively involved in finding children. The days are designed to be child-centred, relaxed days on which children can have fun.
The Department for Education part fund 10 Adoption Activity Days.
Self-refer to the Adoption Register
Agencies can refer adopters to the Adoption Register for England as soon as they have been approved by the agency. They usually do this if it seems unlikely that the adopters will be matched quickly with a suitable child in their own region. Agencies must refer prospective adopters (with their consent) to the Adoption Register for England three months after they have been approved if there is not a match with an identified child being actively pursued.
Adopters can decide that they do not wish to be referred to the Adoption Register for England, but this will reduce the opportunity for them to be matched with a child who is right for them.
Approved adopters can also self-refer. All you need to do is complete the self-registration form which will notify your social worker of your request to be referred to the Adoption Register for England and obtain their confirmation that you are an approved adopter.
Please contact the Adoption Match team if you are unsure whether or not you are on the Adoption Register for England.
Adopters User Guide
Download the Adopters User Guide to help you search the Adoption Register database.
Referring children and adopters to the Register
It is a legal requirement for Adoption Agencies to refer all children who have been approved for adoption within three months with no active links being pursued to the Adoption Register for England. You do not have to wait; you can choose to refer children to the Register as soon as they are approved for adoption.
See above ‘Legal Requirements for Agencies’ for further information.
Consent required before referral
Children who have the capacity to understand the purpose and functioning of the Adoption Register must give their consent to being referred to the Register. Where a child is the subject of a Care Order or Interim Care Order and the agency has parental responsibility, the agency manager entitled to exercise that parental responsibility must, after consultation with all others with parental responsibility, give consent to the child being referred to the Adoption Register. Where there is an Interim Care order only, the agency should also obtain the agreement of the court. Where a child is accommodated, the birth parent that holds parental responsibility must consent to the child being referred to the Adoption Register.
Only children who have a placement order granted will be available to adopters for viewing however our dedicated team of Regional Business Partners will conduct searches for those children on the Adoption Register without a placement order and their practitioners can also conduct searches on their behalf.
All adopters who have been approved to adopt for three months or more with no active links being pursued and who are in agreement must be referred to the Adoption Register for England. Adopters can refer to the Adoption Register for England immediately (self-refer or through their adoption agency).
All practitioners are now able to register to directly add to and search our database of children and adopters to find the best possible matches. In addition to being able to undertake searches yourself your adopters can search the system. Our team of dedicated Regional Business Partners will continue to undertake searches on your children and families behalf and will work closely to assist you in the matching process.
Professionals User Guide
You will be sent a User Guide once you have been registered as a user to the system.