Contact orders in adoption
Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP
Contact orders in adoption

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

  • Contact orders in adoption
  • Planning for adoption and contact
  • Adoption and contact—principles
  • Pre-adoption contact and placement orders
  • Applicants and principles
  • Procedure
  • Duration
  • Variation, suspension and discharge
  • Suspension of contact where there is no s 26 order
  • Practice
  • more

Planning for adoption and contact

The issue of contact must be addressed in the social worker’s permanency report and also by the agency decision-maker. In the rare cases where the adoption panel considers whether children should be placed for adoption, and in all cases concerning matches between children and prospective adopters, the panel must address contact issues. There is no presumption for or against contact once the adoption agency is authorised to place the child for adoption.

Adoption and contact—principles

Prior to the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (ACA 2002), the clean break principle often held sway in social work thinking and court decisions, and the ability of the natural family to support the placement and not undermine it were seen as prerequisites to any direct contact in most cases. The courts normally discouraged making contact orders linked to adoption.

Since ACA 2002 came into force the Court of Appeal has subsequently held that the courts should reappraise this non-interventionist position and in some cases may need to make contact orders linked to placement or adoption orders. In Re P (children) (adoption: parental consent), the Court of Appeal reviewed the previous case law relating to post-adoption contact and held that those authorities had to be revisited in the context of the court’s jurisdiction to control contact under ACA 2002,