When a placement order is made: can birth family contact continue?
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Arrangements for who a child stays in touch with or sees are often called contact arrangements There is no duty children’s services to allow reasonable contact between the parents and the child once a placement order has been made. If a contact order has been in place, this will no longer apply. This is because the placement order brings that contact order to an end.
But a child may continue to have face to face contact with their parents and other family members after a placement order is made. But:
- This may be at a reduced level
- This may gradually reduce as the time for the child to move to be introduced to and live with the prospective adopters approaches
- Often, direct contact will end ahead of child moving to live with prospective adopters.
What is in place will depend on what arrangements for contact the Family Court approved at the end of the care and placement order proceedings. And the arrangements should be included in the child’s final care plan.
Will a court order for be made to say who a child stays in touch with once a placement order has been made?
The Family Court can make an order requiring the prospective adopter to allow the parent to have ongoing contact with the child. These orders are made under section 26 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. But they are very rarely made. This means that decisions about post-adoption contact are usually at the discretion (choice) of the adoptive parents.
What about the views of the parents about contact?
Parents and carers whose children are being adopted should try to think about post-adoption contact. And what they would like to happen.
They can talk to the social worker about this when they are putting together a plan of adoption. Parents can also ask if the prospective adopters can be asked if they would like to meet with the parents. It will be up to the prospective adopters whether they agree to this or not. They should ask the child’s social worker about this.
For more information about this can be found in our Post-Adoption Contact advice sheet.