Recent case law developments in adoption
Approval of adopters
In order to avoid delay, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 makes it difficult to revoke placement orders. Once a child has been placed under a placement order, a parent cannot apply to the courts for its revocation. As a result, the adoption die has nearly been cast because it is very difficult for parents to successfully challenge a subsequent application for an adoption order.
Therefore, the point at which parental rights are lost depends on when a child is "placed" for adoption. This was considered by the Court of Appeal in the matter of S (a child), which concerned a seven-year-old with a placement order. An initial placement for adoption broke down, following which the boy was cared for by specialist therapeutic foster carers. The carers were considering putting themselves forward as prospective adopters, but had not made a decision. The boy's mother then decided that she wanted him back and so took steps to get the placement order revoked. The crucial issue, therefore, was whether the boy had been placed for adoption.
The Court of Appeal held that the boy had not been placed for adoption and so the mother could try to have the placement order revoked.
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