The Law on Adoption to be Fundamentally Changed

On the 14th January 2016 newspapers were full of reports relating to the Law of Adoption and how it is to be fundamentally changed.


Currently, the law states that adoption is to be a very last resort when no other option will do. The law currently places emphasis on a child remaining within its birth family and preferably with their parents if this is at all possible. This is an area of law that Emery Johnson Astills have members of staff working with every day and they are familiar with the way it works and the processes that are followed in Court.


Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, has unveiled new measures that prioritise permanence and therapeutic care in placement decisions for vulnerable children. This change is driven by the Governments intention to increase adoptions. The Government has said that it will quickly make changes to the law so that Local Authorities and Courts are aware of the changes and that they must prioritise the placements for children on whether they will provide care for the child until its 18th Birthday and whether it can offer the right care for the child to recover from any abuse or neglect.


The announcement by Nicky Morgan has come following a burst of activity by the Government who declared that it intends to increase finances for adoptions and also for the Adoption Service Fund which assists those families that adopt or children that have been adopted during the course of the adoption process. It is also following David Cameron’s commitment in November 2015 to speed up adoptions.


This seems to be a very dramatic change in the stance of the law and one that may bring about a lot more adoptions than presently occur. With these changes, the law would for the first time ever put a duty on Local Authorities and Courts to give weight to the quality of care that the child would receive in a placements.


This change has already received support from Hugh Thornbery, chief executive of Adoption UK, who says:


“We encourage the government to give due consideration to the need for there to be the best possible assessments of children’s needs to assist the robust decision-making they have described”


At present very little is known about the proposed changes and what they will look like or how long it will take for them to be actioned. This article focuses on what has been reported as at the 14th January 2016 and Emery Johnson Astills will ensure that further articles are available to document the changes as more is learned.


Emery Johnson Astills have experience of adoption and related family matters. If you or anyone that you know require any advice in relation to adoption or any other children act matters please do not hesitate in contacting Emery Johnson Astill on 0116 2554855 or 01509 610312