Navigating the Adoption Process: A Comprehensive Guide
The adoption process can be a life-changing experience and can often be a complex journey. Starting with the contemplation stage, the application process, assessments, panel, matching, introductions, and eventually the child/children being placed with you. Hopefully, this journey will be straightforward and full of joy. However, we know that this is not always the case.
- Challenges in the Adoption Journey
- Legal Protections for Prospective Adopters
- The Importance of Proper Notification
- How our Adoption Legal Centre Solicitors Can Help
Challenges in the Adoption Journey
We have represented clients who were prospective adopters where the children have been placed with them, and the Local Authority have come in and removed the children prior to the adoption order being applied for.
Legal Protections for Prospective Adopters
We have experience with cases where the Local Authority did not give the prospective adopters the correct notice required by law. Under s. 35(2) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, where the child is placed for adoption by an adoption agency and the agency is of the opinion that the child should not remain with the prospective adopters, the prospective adopters shall return the child no later than before the end of the period of 7 days beginning with the giving of notice by the agency. Under s. 144(1), ‘notice’ under the Act means ‘notice in writing’.
The Importance of Proper Notification
A telephone call from a social worker to the prospective adopter would not constitute relevant notice. One of our clients had the Local Authority come to their home and remove the children on that day with no notice given to the client. If the Local Authority seeks the urgent removal of a child in a period shorter than the 7-day notice period required by s35 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, the proper course of action is for the matter to come before the family court for an Emergency Protection or Interim Care Order.
How our Adoption Legal Centre Solicitors Can Help
If you experience a similar situation, then please contact us to see how we can assist you. It is important that you take urgent steps if the Local Authority is stating that they will remove the children from your care. You should ideally contact us immediately, before the children are removed from your care, as there will be more options open to you on the way forward.