Chapter 8 Outline answers to essay questions

Adoption

Is the welfare of some children best provided for by way of an adoption order under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, or do some other orders provide adequately for all cases, so that adoption is now an outdated concept?

The question is asking you to consider suitable alternative orders to adoption. The main alternative is special guardianship, but it may also be relevant to consider child arrangements orders.

Describe the law in relation to adoption (the Adoption and Children Act 2002) and consider the effects of an adoption order – that it ends the legal relationship between the child and their birth parents. Also consider human rights issues in relation to adoption and discuss relevant case law in particular Re B(Adoption by One Natural Parent to Exclusion of Other) [2001] 1FLR 589, Re B(A Child)(Care Proceeding:Threshold Criteria) [2013] UKSC 33, Re B-S[2013] EWCA Civ 1146 and Re R(A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 1625.

You could also comment on the fact that unmarried fathers are not required to give their consent to adoption. Refer to the case of Re H: Re G (Adoption: consultation of unmarried fathers) [2001] 1 FLR 646. 

Describe special guardianship under S14A the Children Act 1989 and the effects of an order.

Highlight the differences between these orders and adoption orders. Also compare child arrangements orders. These are other ways by which a person can have parental responsibility for a child without severing the tie with the birth parents. Consider when these may be suitable alternatives. See Re S (2007), Re AJ (2007) and Re M-J (2007).

Is there still a place for adoption? The nature of adoption has changed - fewer babies are adopted and more adoptions are of older children. So are these other orders still appropriate today? However consider the measures contained within the Children and Families Act 2014 intended to speed up adoption – i.e. local authorities must consider placing the child with foster parents who have been approved as adopters and the previous requirements to consider the child’s religion, race, culture and language to be repealed.