Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability
The Adoption Act 2010 requires that prospective adoptive parent(s) hold a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability before they can adopt a child. A Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability is in effect a licence to proceed to adoption. The Adoption Authority of Ireland is the only body authorised to grant Declarations of Eligibility and Suitability.
To obtain a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability the eligibility of the prospective adoptive parent(s) must be verified and their suitability to adopt must be assessed. The criteria for eligibility and suitability are set out in the Adoption Act 2010. The assessment of the prospective adoptive parent(s) are carried out by Tusla – Child & Family Agency and specific accredited bodies.
The steps to apply for a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability and the process followed by the Adoption Authority in considering the application are outlined in this explanatory leaflet.
The rules about applying for, granting and removing Declarations of Eligibility and Suitability are outlined in this explanatory leaflet.
The Adoption Authority of Ireland was established as an independent regulatory body on 1 November 2010 following the enactment of the Adoption Act 2010.
The mission of the Adoption Authority is to make sure that adoption-related services meet the highest standards throughout the entire adoption process. In all activities, the best interests of children come first.
These rules support this mission. We will use these rules from 1 January 2018.
This document is not a legal interpretation of the adoption process and does not constitute legal advice. It is purely for information. If you have any questions about adoption, including eligibility, suitability and interpretation, please refer to a solicitor for legal advice.
A Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability is valid for a period of 2 years from the date it is granted by the Authority. Section 41 of the Adoption Act 2010 allows the Authority to grant one extension of not more than 12 months, subject to certain conditions.
You should write to the Authority before your original Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability is due to expire but no earlier than three months before this date. If there have been NO material changes in your circumstances, you should complete a Statutory Declaration, have it sworn, and send it by post to the relevant unit in the Adoption Authority.
If there HAS been a material change in your circumstances, you will need to write to the Authority quoting your Reference Number. This can be found on the original Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability. In the letter you should outline the nature of the change or changes that have occurred. The Authority may request an updated assessment report from your assessing social worker including approval from the Local Adoption Committee (LAC). You should not complete a Statutory Declaration in these circumstances.
If an extension to your Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability is granted, it will be valid from the date that the original Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability expires to a date no more than 12 months later.
A ‘material change in circumstances’ is any significant or important change in your circumstances since the original Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability was granted to you. It includes changes such as
- the birth of a child;
- the placement of a child with you in a fostering arrangement;
- a change of residence;
- a change in employment status;
- a change in health status.
Letters of application and Statutory Declarations, where appropriate, should be sent BY POST to the relevant unit, either the Domestic Adoption Unit or the Intercountry Adoption Unit at
The Adoption Authority of Ireland
It is your responsibility to ensure an application for an extension is submitted to the Authority before the original Declaration expires. Any requests received after the Declaration expires cannot be accepted. In such cases you will have to re-apply to your assessing agency for a new Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability.