Who can apply for an adoption order?
2 minute read
Sections 49 – 51 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 set out that:
- Prospective adopters must be over the age of 21 before they can proceed with adopting a child
- Single people and those in a couple can both adopt
- Partners do not need to be married or in a civil partnership in order to adopt
- But if a couple is married or in a civil partnership, they need to make the adoption application together. The only exception to this is if they are separated or one partner cannot be found.
A child must have been living with the prospective adopters for at least 10 weeks before the prospective adopters can apply to the court for an adoption order (section 42 (2) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002). The next steps following this are set out below, under What happens during the court proceedings for an adoption order?
Sometimes a foster carer, or a family member may want to apply to adopt a child that is living with them. To do this, the carer must:
- Write to children’s services explaining it is their wish to adopt the child
- Do so at least three months before they make their application for an adoption order
- Have had the child in their care for the required period of time before making the application – see the table below.
|Applicant||How long does the child have to have lived with someone, before they can apply for an adoption order?|
|Unrelated foster carer||1 year|
|Other family member or friend||3 years, out of the last 5 years|