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Adopting a family member

It's our aim to return all children to the care of their birth parents but if this is not an option then family and friends may provide care that is the next best thing.

If the child you’d like to care for or adopt is currently in care, please contact us. If the child is not in care you can apply directly to the court for a Residence Order, Special Guardianship Order or an Adoption Order.

Remember - you can only apply to adopt if you are a close relative of the child or a connected person.

Residence order

A Residence Order is where a carer shares all aspects of parental responsibility with the birth parent or parents. This order lasts until a child is 16 or 18 years old, and the carers must share decision making for the child with the birth parents.

The birth parents can go back to court to challenge the order so it works best when the carers have a good relationship with the birth parent of the child and can make joint decisions in the best interest of the child. It is expected that the child will continue to have contact with the birth parent/s.

Special Guardianship Order

A Special Guardianship Order is intended to give permanent carers the opportunity to make day to day decisions about the child whilst still retaining shared parental responsibility with the birth parents. The order lasts until the child is 18 years old and cannot be challenged by the birth parents without leave of the court. In most cases it is anticipated that the child will continue have some contact with the birth family.

Adoption Order

This is where all parental rights and responsibilities are transferred to the adoptive family. Whilst it is important to consider whether the child should continue to have contact with the birth parents this very much depends on the needs of the child. Find out more in our ‘Steps to adoption’ section.

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