Revised 22 April 2014
Adoption is the means of giving a child a new family when life with their birth parents is not possible. It is the adoption process by which a child legally and permanently becomes part of a new family.
To qualify for adoption, a child must not:
- be 18 or over at the time of the application for adoption
- be, or ever have been, legally married or have entered into a civil partnership
Both birth parents must give their consent for adoption, though there are exceptions:
- where they cannot be contacted
- where they cannot give consent
- where it is adjudicated that a failure to have the child adopted would put them at risk. It is this final circumstance that can lead to injustice, heartbreak and the needless dissolution of families.
To adopt a child you can go through either:
“I was very happy
with the support and
advice Sioned gave me;
the criminal charges
were dropped, care
proceedings were never
issued and the children
were returned home
with no further social
services or police
are doing a very good
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- an adoption agency that operates with your local authority
- a voluntary adoption agency
The adoption process
The basic process is as follows:
- You contact an adoption agency who will send you the information you need on the adoption process.
- The agency will arrange to meet you.
- If you and the agency agree to carry on, the agency will give you an application form.
- Once the application has been returned to them, the agency will invite you to a series of preparation classes.
- The agency will arrange for a social worker to visit you on several occasions to assess your suitability to become an adoptive parent.
- The agency will arrange a police check. You will not be allowed to adopt if you – or an adult member of your family – have been convicted of a serious offence, particularly one against a against a child.
- The agency will ask you to provide the names of 3 referees who will give you a personal reference. One of these can be a relative.
- The agency will arrange for you to have a full medical examination.
The completed assessment report will be sent to an independent adoption panel who will make a recommendation to the adoption agency based on your assessment.
You will have an opportunity to ask questions and answer any questions the panel has.
The panel’s recommendations will be sent to the agency, which will then decide whether you’re suitable to adopt a child.
Once your agency decides you can adopt, they’ll begin the process of finding a child for you to adopt.
With the advent of the Children and Families Act 2014, there has been a renewed push to facilitate rapid adoption. Specifically, once they have decided that a child should be put up for adoption, social services are now required to try set them up in a foster-to-adopt arrangement. This means they can be on the Adoption and Children Act Register within a week of being placed into care.
Once a child has lived with you for at least 10 weeks, you may apply apply for adoption. To make an adoption legal, you need to apply for an adoption court order.
Once the order has been granted:
- the adoption becomes permanent.
- you get an adoption certificate showing the child’s new name and replacing the original birth certificate.
- the child has the same rights as if they were your own birth child, e.g. the right of inheritance.
Brendan Fleming Solicitors are nationally recognized as a leading choice in the area of care work. We are justifiably proud of our expertise and our success rate. We are contracted to the Legal Services Commission for this type of work and are considered to be one of the leading national firms for publicly funded services.
Our principal, Brendan Fleming, has won a reputation for his innovative approach, spearheading many new ways of securing justice for families caught in the care proceedings trap. He is a member of a select children’s panel and recognized and approved by the Law Society.
If you need a Care Proceedings Solicitor to help you, contact Brendan Fleming today.