Adopting a Child

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (the Authority), is a child-centred, family-focused organisation which acts on behalf of children in need of care and protection. 
The Authority is responsible for making all arrangements for adoption, which is a permanent placement option and seeks to encourage family environments of love and support.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the legal transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities for a child from that child’s parents (biological or adoptive parents) or guardian(s) to another person or persons referred to as the adopter or adopters. Adoption provides a child with a sense of belonging and permanence.

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Are there any restrictions regarding who can adopt?

The current Adoption of Children Act has removed all restrictions with respect to the age of the prospective adopter and the age difference between prospective adopters and the child to be adopted.  Therefore, anyone can make an application to adopt a minor child. Old prejudices based on age, gender and marital status are abolished.

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Can a child in a children’s home be adopted?

Yes, these children can be adopted but they would have to first be made available for adoption, i.e. freed for adoption. A child is eligible for adoption when there isn’t anyone actively being a parent or guardian for the child and the Court declares the child to be adoptable. The consent of parents/guardians is required before adopting, unless the Court dispenses with it.

It should be noted that the law provides that consent by a mother is ineffective (for the purposes of making a child available for adoption) if it is given less than 6 weeks after the child’s birth.  The law also states that the parent or guardian must be given an opportunity to make a declaration as to whether he/she prefers not to be involved in future questions concerning the adoption of the child.

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How are the views of children, where possible and appropriate, taken into consideration during the adoption process?

Section 6 (2) of the Children’s Authority Act states that when determining the best interest of a child the Children’s Authority shall take into consideration:

  • The right of the child to be heard
  • The right of the child to enjoyment of family life

As part of the Assessment, the Authority will explore the child’s views and feelings about their living arrangements, their wishes, preferences and hopes for the kind of lifestyle they wish to have (having regard to the child’s age and understanding).


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What are the stages in the adoption process?

There are three stages in the adoption process, which are as follows: 

  1. Approval to adopt a child: This includes the application and assessment processes.
  2. Matching: This is when a prospective adopter’s description of a desired child matches the profile of a child who has become available for adoption.
  3. Placement: This occurs when the child has been successfully matched and is placed in the temporary care of the approved adopters to start the probationary period. The timeframe for the entire process varies depending on a number of factors. A probationary period up to six months must be satisfied unless reduced or waived by the Authority.

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Where can I find more information?

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
Adoption Unit
35A Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad
627-0748 ext. 2096, 2164, 2170 or 2153

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