What is adoption?
Children of all ages, sometimes even newborn babies, occasionally need to come into the care of the local authority. There are many reasons for this. Some children and young people may need some time in care while a crisis at home is being checked out and support is being put in place. Parents often need extra support, and children will need to be with a foster carer while that is taking place. Some children have experienced harm or neglect in the care of their birth families.
Where it is not safe or possible for a child to return to their own family, local authorities are required to make alternative permanent plans for their long term care. This is called permanency planning and adoption provides the most legally secure permanency placement for children.
Adoption is therefore a legal way of securing permanent families for children who cannot remain with their birth families. Adopted children lose all legal ties with their birth parents and become full members of their adopted family.
Adoption may take place with the consent of the child’s birth parents who hold parental responsibility, or on the basis of a Placement Order obtained through a legal process.
Once the child has been placed with their adoptive parents for a period of time, an adoption can only be finalised by a court order made at a Family Court or at the High Court.