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

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 below. 


  1. The Adoption Board issues a Pre-Adoption Form which should be completed by all applicants and returned to the Adoption Board by post or in person.
  2. The completed Pre- Adoption Form when returned is 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. There is usually a period of four weeks for a response to be given from the time the Pre- Adoption Form is received I n 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The applicant is informed of his/her case status after the above is completed, this usually takes four weeks.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Cases that appear to be satisfactory are submitted to a review committee of the Adoption Board.
  10. 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.
  11. A court hearing is arranged for their parish of residence.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 ids here that it can be granted or denied.



  • If a child is identified for an applicant early in the adoption process, the entire process is usually takes between 4-7 months to be completed from the time all documents are received at the Adoption Board’s Office to the time of the Court hearing.
  • The adoption birth certificates are issued by the Registrar General’s Department and these can be applied for (4) four weeks after the court hearing.
  • The form licence, issued to a licence applicant is available at the Court Office where the matter was heard two (2) weeks after the Court hearing. This document is not to be taken to the Registrar General’s Department but should be held for immigration purposes.
  • A child who goes abroad in licence keeps his/her original identity until legally adopted by the applicant who is issued with the licence in the Jamaican court. The applicant should retain the services of an adoption lawyer in his/her country of citizenship and complete the adoption in the overseas country.


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