Adoption Rates in Freefall after Court Ruling Leaves Children Languishing in Unsuitable Homes

HomeAdoption Legal CentreAdoption Rates in Freefall after Court Ruling Leaves Children Languishing in Unsuitable Homes

The government and the courts have been in conflict over adoption for months. The decision in re B-S (children) [2013] eventually lead to Sir Martin Narey issuing a mythbuster about what the decision really meant. The report in the Independent suggests that his intervention has had no effect.

The court decided that placement for adoption without parental consent is a draconian step requiring a high standard of evidence.  There is a need for the local authority (and children’s guardians) to examine all available options and to provide clear evidence and analysis of the pros and cons of all options to the court.  In addition, the court needs to give a carefully reasoned judgement as to why adoption is the only option for a particular child.

In considering the case the court drew three key points:

•    That although the child’s interests are paramount, those interests included being brought up within the child’s natural family – is there a family member or friend who could care?

•    That the statutes impose a requirement that the court “must” consider all available options when coming to a decision; and

•    That the court’s assessment of the parents’ and kinship carers capacity to care for the child should include consideration of the support that the local authority could offer them to care for the child.

The court reinforced the approach to be taken by judges in indicating that there must be proper evidence setting out the reasons for and against adoption.

Was this so radical? Adoption is an important solution – but not the only one.
The latest figures have not been published apparently because of the election. It will be interesting to see how the government responds.
Adoption Legal Centre
For legal advice regarding all aspects of adoption, please contact the Adoption Legal Centre on 0843 8866386.