About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Adoption Resources

There are a huge number of useful websites relevant to adoption in the UK which family lawyers may find useful. The links which follow will all open in a new window.

The Adoption Rules website maintained by the Ministry of Justice follows the CJR model and contains all the rules & practice directions as well as court forms, is fully searchable and kept up-to-date.

For an overview of the Adoption & Children Act 2002 and the main changes it introduced see this article by the Family Team at 4 Brick Court .

The main BAAF (British Association for Adoption & Fostering is packed full of useful materials such as news, research, links and guidance on legislation and has an adoption subsite .

There are various useful sites under the Every Child Matters main page: adoption training materials where you can download workbooks, trainer packs or register for e-learning & the main adoption platform page has links to legislation & practice guidance.

The President's Guidance on Adoption is available online as a pdf file.

The Court Service also publishes introductory booklets on adoption & intercountry adoption and you can download the adoption forms by searching for worktype adoption in the forms section.

The Adoption Information Line is allegedly the most popular adoption internet site in the UK. It certainly deserves to be and has a good database of information and articles about the law, practice and processes of adoption though it is not primarily aimed at lawyers.

The Post Adoption Centre is a long-standing charity providing a range of services related to adoption and another adoption support agency Family Futures provides services to adopted children and their families but also provides assessments in care proceedings, particularly on attachment.

The DCFS Intercountry Adoption site is a comprehensive resource for materials and legislation related to adoptions of foreign children (incoming to the UK).

Other sites include the Independent Review Mechanism is a panel to which would-be adopters can apply for a review of a decision to refuse to approve them as adopters & the Adoption Register is a national resource for linking children to prospective adopters.

Recent cases on adoption on the Family Law Week website include :
Re A : appeal granted to foster carer refused leave to apply to adopt;

Re C : a local authority did not have to make enquiries about extended family members where mother wanted the child, who was the result of a one-night stand, to be adopted.

Re L : a local authority did not have to pursue the natural father or maternal family in circumstances where mother would not give any information about his identity or whereabouts and did not want her family to know about the child.

Three cases on adoption versus special guardianship from 2007 are AJ ((child placed with paternal uncle & aunt who feared that the parents would not co-operate and that future litigation would be a burden – adoption preferred & upheld on appeal), S (applicant was foster carer with very good relationship with mother (who was likely to have ongoing relationship with the child) but who would have preferred adoption – SGO upheld by CA) and M-J (child placed with maternal half-sister – mother with history of drug abuse and recent relapse, not truly accepting need for permanence away from her – adoption preferred to SGO & s 91(14) & upheld on appeal).

In relation to leave applications, the Court of Appeal has granted an appeal to a foster carer who was refused leave to apply for an adoption order, in the case of Re A sub nom TL v Coventry City Council and taken the opportunity to comment on the principles which should be applied in a leave application: welfare is relevant but not paramount as is whether or not the applicant has a real prospect of success. The same principles should be applied in applications for leave to adopt as in applications for leave to apply to revoke a placement order and the decision of the Court of Appeal in Warwickshire CC v M was applied.

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