The following are guidelines from the Child Development Agency of Jamaica regarding the adoption of children in Jamaica. The pre-adoption form may be downloaded here

Who is eligible to adopt?

Under Jamaican Law, anyone over the age of 25 may adopt a child who is under 18 years of age.  There is also a provision for 18 year olds to legally adopt members of their own family. 

The Process



Application Form



  1. Fill out the Pre-Adoption Form and return it to the Adoption Board by post or in person.
  2. The Pre- Adoption Form is then reviewed by the Boards Office. An applicant who is considered suitable in the initial review is provided with an application form, a medical form and a listing of documents required. N.B. There is usually a period of four weeks for a response to be given from the time the Pre- Adoption Form is received in the Office.
  3. On completion and return of all forms and documents requested, they are reviewed and satisfactory cases are assigned to our Assisstant Adoption Officers for further processing.
  4. Parents of children to be adopted and their consent to the adoption is requested.



Applicant Assessment


  1. An Home Study/ assessment is done of the applicant in the form of home visits, interviews, counseling etc.  A written Home Study is completed at the end of the process. The applicant who lives abroad should submit a home study report.
  2. The applicant is informed of his/her case status after the above is completed, this usually takes four weeks.



Identification of Child to Be Adopted


  1. The Adoption Board assists applicants to identify children who are available for adoption. In general an overseas applicant requires a licence and he/she may come to Jamaica to decide on an available child.
  2. Before an adoption is completed, locally placed children and their prospective adoptive parents are supervised by local Social Worker’s from the Adoption Board’s Office for a period between 3 and 4 months, e.g. Licence, Jamaicans abroad.
  3. Cases that appear to be satisfactory are submitted to a review committee of the Adoption Board.


Court Hearing



  1. An applicant approved by the committee is required to make a formal application to the court. The applicant’s case worker will provide guidance on this process.
  2. A court hearing is arranged for their parish of residence.
  3. The applicant and the child to be adopted are required to meet with their caseworker for a briefing on a day prior to the court hearing.
  4. The applicant and the child to be adopted locally are required to attend the Court hearing. The Licence applicant is not usually required to attend court; however the court can request his/her attendance. The child is always required to attend court and he/she can be accompanied by a guardian.

It is at the Court hearing that an application for a Licence/Adoption Order is heard and it is here that it can be granted or denied.

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The Child Development Agency, 2005
48 Duke Street, Kingston, Jamaica
Tel.: 876.948.7206 / 876.948.7067 Fax: 876.924.9401