South Africa


South Africa is a country which is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption 1993 and all adoptions from South Africa are regulated through the South African Central Authority. IAC is the only adoption agency in the UK able to offer a service to prospective adopters seeking to adopt from South Africa, including prospective adopters seeking to adopt unrelated children and those who have already identified a child in South Africa.

The programme allows IAC and our partner agency in South Africa, Child Welfare Durban and District (CWDD), to work closely together to match waiting families in the UK with children waiting for placements in South Africa and to support the families through the time of introductions and the Court process in South Africa.

The children needing homes

The children requiring homes in South Africa have a range of needs. It is important to note that:

  • Most children will have suffered some form of neglect or abuse prior to coming into care and therefore have health, emotional, or behavioural legacies as a result
  • Many children are of Black or mixed heritage
  • Children living with HIV are the highest priority group at present and range in age from a few months upwards.

CWDD will prioritise prospective adoptive parents who are able to take children with the following backgrounds:

  • HIV positive
  • Operable and inoperable medical special needs
  • Children with socially vulnerable backgrounds such as domestic violence, sexual or physical abuse, loss of parents etc.
  • Sibling groups
  • Children who are over the age of 3 years.

Waiting times are between 12 to 18 months. For children with less complex needs the waiting times will be longer.

Eligibility for South Africa

  • Single adopters and couples, including couples of the same sex are eligible to adopt, making South Africa one of the few current options for LGBTQ applicants
  • Prospective adopters under the age of 45 are eligible to adopt a child under 2 years of age, between 45 and 50 years a child of 2-3 years and between 50 and 55 years a child over the age of 3.

Please see the Information Pack for details of further eligibility criteria.

Who can use the Special Programme?

Prospective adopters who wish to use the South Africa Special programme must be:

  • Eligible to adopt from South Africa – The IAC Information for Prospective Adoptive Applicants (South Africa Special Programme) provides full details of eligibility criteria
  • Approved to adopt from South Africa
  • Resident in the United Kingdom.

Prospective Adopters living outside of the Local Authorities who contract IAC to undertake their assessments may need to request an assessment via their Local Authority before joining the South Africa Special Programme but please speak to IAC before you make an enquiry about becoming an approved adopter

There is a charge for this service and further details concerning the service and the costs can be found in the Information Pack.

For further information about the special programme please contact the IAC Advice Line