Placement Orders - placing a child for adoption

This is an order authorising a local authority to place a child for adoption where there is no parental consent, or where consent should be dispensed with. Placement by consent is the free unconditional agreement of the parent or guardian of a child to that child's adoption. The consent can be withdrawn at any time up and until an adoption order is made.

The consent must be given on a special form and witnessed by an officer from CAFCASS, (The Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Services).

In the case of a mother who has just given birth her consent will not be valid if given in the first six weeks of the birth. If a child under six weeks is placed with an adoption agency they will have to look after the child until it is six weeks old and then ask for parental consent or apply for a placement order.

The consent of a parent or guardian may not be necessary if:

1. The parent or guardian cannot not be found or they are incapable of giving their agreement, e.g. because they are mentally ill.

2. The court is satisfied that the welfare of the child requires that consent be dispensed with. The welfare of the child outweighs the rights of the birth parents. However, the courts must still consider the impact on the child of ceasing to be a member of his/her birth family and the change in his/her relationship with the family that adoption would bring.

In the above circumstances an application should be made for a placement order, but only local authorities can apply for a placement order. They must do so if a child is the subject of a care order and there is no parental consent or where they consider the child is at risk of significant harm.

A court cannot make a placement order unless an effort has been made to notify the parents or guardians who have parental responsibility for the child that an application for a placement order is being made.


Adoption Order for a child

Adoption Law