Lots of different people are able to adopt.

Your parenting skills and capacity to parent are what's important.


You must be aged 21 years or older. There is no upper age limit. We look at age alongside everything else.

Marital status

You do not have to be married to adopt. However couples need to have been living together for 2 years prior to making an application.

Single people

Single men and women can apply to adopt.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual

People who are in a civil partnership or a same sex relationship can apply to adopt. If you are single you can also apply.

People who live outside the Oldham area

You do not have to live in Oldham to adopt with Oldham.

We welcome enquiries from people who live within a 25 mile radius and are particularly keen to hear from people who live in Rochdale, Tameside, Glossop, Huddersfield, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

People who already have children

You can adopt if you already have children. Experienced parents can make very good adopters. It is advisable for an adopted child to be the youngest member of your family. There would need to be at least a 2-year age gap between birth children and adopted children. We would want to talk to your children about adoption, even if they do not live with you, their views are important. We will also talk to ex partners if you have had children together.


It is a requirement that you have reasonable health both now and, as far as is foreseeable, into the future. All prospective adopters need to have a medical to be sure they are fit enough for the task. If you're unsure if you are eligible to adopt, get in touch with the the Adoption Team.


You can apply to adopt if you have a disability. We will need to know more about the nature of you disability and how this may affect your capacity to care for a child into adulthood. We ask for a medical report for all applicants.

Race, religion and culture

We welcome applicants from people from all racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. We aim to place children with adoptive families of the same racial, religious and cultural background as themselves and need adopters of different backgrounds to achieve this.

Infertility treatment

If you are considering, or are in the process of fertility treatment, we would require this to be completely finished before you can adopt. It is recommended that you wait several months after your final treatment before applying.


If you have a criminal record you would need to discuss this with us. We will tell you if you can adopt. This will depend on the nature of the offence and when you were convicted. The types of offence, which would prevent you from adopting, are any offences involving children or those of a violent or sexual nature. We carry out police checks on all applicants.


It is Oldham’s policy that you cannot adopt a child under the age of 5 years if you smoke. We will consider applications from smokers wishing to adopt children over the age of 5 years, however we would need to discuss your plans to reduce the health risk to any placed children.


You do not need to own your own home but must have the space to accommodate a child or children. Your home must also be safe and reasonably maintained.

Employment and finances

You do not need to have a job to adopt. All that is required is that you are financially stable and able to provide for a child’s needs.


You will be asked about any pets you have during the assessment. Applicants with dangerous pets or pets with behaviour problems cannot be accepted.