Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Adoption Assessment


Domestic Adoption is where those wishing to adopt a child adopt a child resing in the irsih state . Unlike adoption a child from abraod which is known as inter country adoption.

Adoption assessment process

Seeking a declaration to adopt Who may adopt Application Process Children eligible for adoption How to apply

Seeking a declaration to adopt

In order to be granted an approval to adopt which is known as a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability (DES). The requirements of which are set out in the Adoption Act 2010. Applicants, who are seeking this approval, will undergo a detailed assessment. This assessment is a rigorous process. The length of assessment is dependent on circumstances and can vary accordingly but will take  a minimum of 18 months.

The purpose of this assessment is to establish the applicant’/s eligibility and suitability as prospective adoptive parent/s. The assessment is carried out by a Child and Family Agency Social Worker or a social work in an accredited Agency. It includes a number of interviews and home visits. Applications can be made by sole applicants or couples,  where the application is from a married/civil/co-habitatingcouple, , there will be both individual and joint interviews.  The Social Worker will discuss such areas as previous and/or current relationships, motives for adopting, expectations of the child and the ability to help a child to develop his/her knowledge and understanding of his/her birth story. All applicants are required to undergo a medical examination and Garda vetting.

If planning to adopt from abroad, the assessment will include assessing an understanding and knowledge of the child's cultural, ethnic and racial background.

Who may adopt

The following persons are eligible to adopt:

  • a married couple /civil partners who are living together,
  • a cohabiting couple, 
  • a parent, step parent or relative of the child,
  • a sole applicant

For more information, see Adoption Act 2010 and Amendment Act 2017

Ages of adopters

Minimum age

A couple adopting a child, to whom they are not related, must both be at least 21 years of age. Where the child is being adopted, a person who is married, who is in a civil partnership or is cohabiting, and where one of the partners is the parent or a relative of the child, only one partner must have attained the age of 21 years.

Upper Age

The law does not lay down upper age limits for prospective adoptive parent/s.  However, age is a significant factor when assessing a couple's suitability to adopt.

Residency of adopters

Prospective adoptive parent/s must be habitually resident in the State and have been ideally resident for at least one year before the date of the making of the adoption order.


Under law where the prospective adoptive parent/s, the child and every person whose consent to the making of an adoption order is necessary are not all of the same religion (if any), every person whose consent to the making of an adoption order is necessary must know the religion (if any) of each of the prospective adoptive parent/s, when giving consent to the child's adoption.

Domestic adoption - eligibility of a child to be adopted in Ireland

In order for a child to be eligible for Adoption the child must be 6 weeks old and we must have consent of the mother and or guardians of the child to the adoption If the father does not have automatic guardianship or has not obtained guardianship rights, the birth father’s consent is not required. However, the birth father (in this instance) and all other relevant non-guardians are consulted (if possible) about the adoption of the child.

The mother, father (where the father is guardian) or other guardians must give initial consent or be in agreement with the placing of a child for adoption. This consent may be withdrawn at any time before the making of an Adoption Order. In some cases where it is deemed to be in the child’s best interests’ applications may be made to the high court to dispense with this consent where:

  • the guardian cannot be located
  • the guardian is refusing to consent
  • the guardian is not engaging

Intercountry – eligibility of a child to be adopted from abroad

Tusla has no role or authority in determining the eligibility of a child for adoption residing in another state. To adopt a child from abroad the country where the child is residing must have signed up to the Hague convention. This country is responsible for determining whether a child is eligible for adoption. All queries regarding eligibility in this regard need to be referred to the Adoption Authority of Ireland as the central authority for the state.

How to Apply

Contact your local Child and Family Agency adoption office for more information, or to apply for adoption.

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