Adoption Children
Adoption provides a child with a new family when it is not possible to live with their own family. Adoption is the means of giving a child an opportunity to start again; for many children, adoption may be their only chance of experiencing family life.

Although age is a factor considered, there is no upper age restriction for people applying to adopt, age is only one factor taken into account when assessing the suitability. Age needs to be linked to the age of the child, general health, fitness, energy and general emotional well being. The important issue is that adopters can meet the day to day needs of children they look after.

To be eligible for adoption the child must be under the age of 18 years and a child for whom returning home to their parents is not possible. If the child is or has been married they cannot be adopted.

An Adoption Order severs all legal ties with the birth family and gives parental rights and responsibilities on the new adoptive family.

The birth parents no longer have any legal rights over the child and they are not entitled to have them back. The child becomes a full member of the adopted family; they take the adopter’s surname and assume the same rights and privileges as if they had been born to them, including the right of inheritance.

Adoption Children Agencies
Adoption Agency is the term given to an organisation that has been licensed and approved by the Department of Health.

Mostly adoption agencies in the UK are the social services departments of local councils. But there are also voluntary bodies and charities that are registered as adoption agencies.

When a child is permanently removed from their biological parents, but has not yet been placed for adoption, the adoption agency assumes parental responsibility for that child.

The time it takes to adopt will vary. It will take just over eight months for the adoption agency to complete its assessment of your suitability to adopt. It could then just take a matter of weeks for the agency to match adopters with a child.

Prospective adopters are invited to attend an adoption panel meeting, which recommends to the agency whether or not they should be approved as adopters. The agency’s decision on whether they are approved or not is usually given orally within two days and in writing within five days.

If the agency plans not to approve the adopters’ application, the prospective adopters (in England and Wales only) the applicants can seek a review with the IRM (The Independent Review Mechanism). The IRM must be contacted within 40 days if in England, 28 days if in Wales, of the written notification from the agency.

Once the agency considers the applicants as suitable to adopt, it will begin the process of finding a child whose needs can be met. If a match doesn’t take place after three months, the potential adopters can be referred to the Adoption Register for England and Wales.

The Register holds details of children across England and Wales who need a family. The Register will be searched to identify a child. Once a link has been made, potential adopters details will be passed on to the child’s social worker.

Once the child goes to live with the potential adopters, it is up to them to decide when to apply to the court for an adoption order. However, the child must have lived with them for at least ten weeks. An adoption order means that parental rights and responsibilities for the child are given to the adoptive parents.

Adoption allowances are subject to means testing but may be paid in some situations and are generally awarded for sibling groups, or a child with special needs. The allowance is paid in respect of the child’s needs and cannot be attached to adopters. Adoption allowances are subject to an annual review. Adopters can claim child benefit, tax credits or disability living allowance like any other parents.

Adoption Children – overseas
If potential adopters are thinking of adopting a child from another country, before applying to an Agency, enquiries need to have been made with a child’s country of origin to find out what requirements that country has. Some countries, for example, do not allow their children to be placed for adoption overseas.

Local authority adoption agencies, charge a fee for these assessments which is currently £4,500.

Potential adopters will be required to undertake the same training and assessment as for other adopters who wish to adopt children in the UK.

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