Not every child who is taken into care will be adopted. However in many cases, particularly when the child is very young, Social Services will progress an application for adoption of children in care.
A parent can refuse to consent to the adoption if they do not agree with it. In this situation the Trust will have to apply for a Freeing Order which is a Court order that a child is free to be adopted without parental agreement.
When deciding whether to make a Freeing Order the Court will very carefully consider all the facts and the objections which the parents are making. The Court will ultimately make a decision based on the best interests of the child. The effect of the Order is to transfer parental responsibility of the child from the parents to the adoption agency.
If a freeing order is made (or in a case where the parents agree to the adoption), an application is then made to the Court for an Adoption Order. This is made after suitable adoptive parents have been identified.
An Adoption Order is a lifelong decision where parental responsibility is transferred to the adoptive parents. Again the Court will look at all the available information to decide if making the Adoption Order is in the child’s best interests. As part of this decision the Court will look at whether the birth parents should have contact in the future and if so how much.
These family law cases are some of the most serious decisions made in our legal system. It is essential that a parent has an experienced legal team with a sympathetic ear to ensure that their legal rights and interests are fully protected.