Relinquished children—adoption agency duties towards children
Produced in partnership with Jason Hadden of St Ives Chambers
Relinquished children—adoption agency duties towards children

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Jason Hadden of St Ives Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Relinquished children—adoption agency duties towards children
  • What is the definition of a relinquished child?
  • The adoption agency
  • What should an adoption agency take into account when considering whether adoption is the best option for a child?
  • The adoption panel
  • What duties does an adoption agency have towards relinquished children?

What is the definition of a relinquished child?

There is no legal definition of a relinquished child. However, in practice the term refers to a situation where the child’s parent or parents wish for their child to be adopted.

The adoption agency

An adoption agency is a local authority adoption agency or a registered adoption society. The role of the agency is to consider whether adoption is the best option for a child.ACA 2002, ss 2(1), 2(2)

What should an adoption agency take into account when considering whether adoption is the best option for a child?

The agency must consider the welfare checklist set out in section 1 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (ACA 2002) when considering whether adoption is in a child’s best interests.ACA 2002, s 1

This sets out the principle that the child’s welfare is the paramount consideration and that any delay in coming to the decision is likely to prejudice the child’s welfare.ACA 2002, ss 1(2), 1(3)

The matters which the agency should take into account, set out at ACA 2002, s 1(4) include:ACA 2002, s 1(4)

  1. the child’s wishes and feelings

  2. the child’s particular needs

  3. effect on the child throughout their life of ceasing to be a member of their original family and becoming an adopted person, and

  4. the relationship the child has with their relatives

The agency must consider the whole range of powers available to it in the child’s case.ACA 2002, s 1(5)

There should be a thorough analysis of the realistic options for the child’s care. A global, holistic evaluation of each of the options should