Adoption by Step Parents and Family
There are a number of different options available for step parents and family looking to obtain parental responsibility for a child / children.
To legally start the process you must inform Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption in writing of your intention to apply for an Adoption Order before applying to the Court. A child can be adopted up until the age of 18 years old. Our duty social workers are available during the weekdays and can discuss your individual circumstance with you. Please call us on 0800 023 4064.
Please include all of the following information in your letter:
* The applicant is the person wishing to adopt
- The child / children’s full name(s), address and date(s) of birth.
- The applicants full name, address and date of birth.
- The applicants current partner (the child / children’s birth parents) full name, address and date of birth.
- The children’s absent birth parent's full name, address and date of birth.
- If the child is not the biological child of either applicant we will require yourself, your partner (if applicable) and both biological birth parents full names, addresses and dates of birth and how long the child has been living with you.
- The length of your relationship with the child / children’s birth parent and how long you have been living in the same household on a full-time basis. You will need to have been in a relationship for more than 2 years and have been a part of the family for more than 6 months.
- Confirmation that the child / children are fully aware of the application and their knowledge of who their birth parents are. Although level of understanding is dependent on the ages of the child / children, there is an expectation that if they are of an age that they have some understanding that this has been discussed with them fully before a Social Worker undertakes their first visit.
- The level of contact between the children and their absent birth parent.
- Confirmation that the children’s absent birth parent has been made aware of the application and what their views are.
- The letter needs to be signed by both yourself and your current partner (the birth parent of the child).
Please address your letter to:
Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption, Dock Office, Subway Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, CF63 4RT
What happens next?
A social worker skilled in adoption work will be appointed to write the report and return it to the court. The report is very detailed and will contain information about all family members. This will include information about the child's biological father/mother and will take into account whether or not the couple were married at the time of the child's birth.
What checks need to be carried out?
- You (and anyone over 16 years of age in your home) will be asked to complete Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) forms. A DBS confirms a person’s identity and will be checked against all national police records and other official databases. Any convictions, cautions and warnings will be disclosed. Your social worker will ask to see documents that verify who you are and will sign the back of the form in your presence. An explanatory leaflet will be given to you regarding this part of the process.
- The biological parent of the child will not need to have medical checks undertaken but the applicant(s) will need to attend a GP and ensure a report is sent to the Court verifying their health situation. The charge for medical reports can vary but this cost has to be met by the applicant.
- If the child you wish to adopt is not a birth child of either of the applicants, a medical report in respect of the child will be required by Court. The charge for medical reports can vary but this cost has to be met by the applicant.
Notifying the Court
When your social worker has completed the report you will need to complete an application via the GOV.UK website. You can download it from the website. There is a fee for this process but not a fee for our services. The court will write to us and request that a report is compiled.
The Legal Process
- The Court will send you an appointment quite soon after your application has been lodged. This is called a Directions Hearing. The Court will ask you and your appointed social worker various questions and estimate how much time will be needed for the report to be submitted. You will not need a solicitor for an unopposed application, but if you wish to appoint one then they will attend the hearing on your behalf.
- You will need a solicitor if the child's biological parent is not willing to give their consent and you were once married to them.
- If you have given a parent what is called parental responsibility for the child you wish to adopt they have a legal right to oppose your application. Your social worker will be able to explain this in more detail when you meet.
- It is important that you are aware of the legal situation once you have lodged your application. This Local Authority will have a legal duty to become responsible for the child's welfare until an Order is made. This does not mean that your child is 'In Care', but it does mean that the social worker has a duty to visit and maintain contact with the child until the adoption hearing.
- The social worker has to form an opinion as to whether adoption is in your child's interests based on the information available to them. It is the Judge who makes the final decision.
- There needs to be confirmation that the child / children’s absent birth parent(s) has been made aware of the application and what his/her views are.
- If you decide not to proceed at any point you will need to notify the Court of that decision and the Court will in turn notify us.
If you are unsure what you need to do before or during the process please call our duty social worker: