Adoption—placement orders
Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP
Adoption—placement orders

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Adoption—placement orders
  • Principles
  • Before the application
  • Requirements for placement order
  • Likelihood of placement
  • Applicants
  • Obligation to apply for a placement order
  • Exceptions to mandatory requirements
  • Discretion to apply for a placement order
  • Application to the court
  • more


With the abolition of the power to apply for freeing orders, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (ACA 2002) introduced a framework for authorising the placement of children for adoption, either with parental consent or under a placement order. Consent to placement for adoption may be given under ACA 2002, ss 19–20.

A placement order is one that authorises the adoption agency to place the child with any adopter(s) to be chosen by the agency, which may include an existing foster carer. Parliament has made a clear choice to bring forward the timing of this critical decision by a court, before the adopter and child are committed to each other.

For further information, see:

Butterworths Family Law Service > Children > 3A Narrative > Chapter 24 Placement for adoption > A Placement for adoption by adoption agency, paras [4248]–[4255]

Before the application

The legislation distinguishes between the two different roles of the local authority, ie as to the bringing of care proceedings and the separate role of the local authority acting in its capacity as an adoption agency, deciding that a child should be adopted and applying for a placement order. If the adoption agency does not properly carry out its duties prior to the application for a placement order, the process is fatally flawed, cannot be cured by