S1, Ep 4. Non-consensual adoption

In this episode I’m joined by Natasha Philips. We discuss the current law surrounding adoption in the UK, including the irrevocable nature of adoption orders and what post-adoption contact actually means. We also talk about the on-going campaigns against non-consensual adoption, and what campaigners are saying.

Of course, we also speak about Natasha Philip’s wonderful project Researching Reform, how it came about and what drives Natasha to keep researching, producing and sharing her content with the world.

The Law we discuss: 

Under s.66(1) Adoption and Children Act 2002  ‘adoption’ means:

(a) adoption by an adoption order, or a Scottish or Northern Irish adoption order;

(b) adoption by an order made in the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands;

(c) a ‘Convention adoption’;

(d) an ‘overseas adoption’; or

(e) an adoption recognised by the law of England and Wales and effected under the law of any other country.

An adoption order is an order that gives parental responsibility for a child to the adopters, which is made on their application to a court. The making of an adoption order exstinguishes the parental responsibility which any person had for the child immediately before the making of the order s.46 ACA 2002 An adoption order is irrevocable, save in the restricted circumstances of s.55 ACA 2002.

Parental Responsibility is defined in s 3(1) Children Act 1989 as being:

“all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

Interim Care Orders:

At the start of care proceedings, the council asks the family court to make a temporary court order, called an ‘interim care order’.

If the court agrees, the child can be placed in local authority care on a temporary basis, which can be for up to 8 weeks at first. This is while the family circumstances are assessed and until the court can make a final decision about what is best for the child. The order gives parental responsibility for the child to the local authority, which is shared with others with parental responsibility. A child may remain living with family members during this process.

Post-adoption contact orders:

When making an adoption order the court must consider whether there should be arrangements made allowing any person contact with the child (Adoption and Children Act 2002 section 46(6)). Adoption orders in relation to contact are intended to be permanent and final.

Section 9 of the Children and Families Act 2014 introduced two new sections (s.51A and s.51B) into the Adoption and Children Act 2002 to govern post-adoption contact. These came into force on 22 April 2014.   A Section 51A order can provide for contact or prohibit contact with specified individuals (s.51A (2)(b)).  Section 51A (3)(a)-(e) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 identifies the categories of people who are permitted to be named in an order and includes any blood relatives or relatives through marriage or civil partnership.  Any persons seeking an order for post-adoption contact must obtain the court’s leave to pursue their application (Section 51A(4)(c) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002).

In deciding whether leave should be granted, the court must consider the extent to which allowing such contact would disrupt the child’s new life, the applicant’s connection to the child, and any representations made to the court by the child or the adoptive family.

(This information on post-adoption orders was taken from https://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed200419

Best Interests Principle:

Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that the best interests of the child must be a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect children.


Articles and other links:

Researching Reform – https://researchingreform.net

Researching Reform: Why campaigners are battling the UK’s adoption policy – Report

Researching Reform: Politicians call for state inquiry into force and illegal adoptions 

Jo Ward and Joe Smeeton’s paper on adoption – “The End Of Non Concensual Adoption? Promoting the Wellbeing of Children in Care

The Good Social Worker Guide – https://goodsocialworker.com

Article by Natasha Philips for Apolitical on non-consensual adoption (link: https://apolitical.co/solution_article/child-health-why-uk-campaigners-are-battling-its-adoption-policy/) apolitical.co/solution_artic…

https://theconversation.com/ – Losing children to foster care

BBC 4 – Womens hour – Zara telling her story about running away to France to ‘keep her baby’ –  Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-47802296

Family Court Statistics (Quarterly, England and Wales, Jan-March 2019) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/811693/FCSQ_January_to_March_2019_final.pdf

Family Drug and Alcohol Court – https://fdac.org.uk

Community Care – https://www.communitycare.co.uk

Cases mentioned: 

Re B (A Child) (Post-adoption Contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29

Natasha writes about Re B (A Child) [2019] on Researching Reform which you can find here.

Re BS (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146 

Information about the judgment in Re BS (Children) [2013] can be found on Family Law Weekly here


Contact me if you have any questions:

Email: voicesoffamilylaw@gmail.com

Website: http://www.voicesoffamilylaw.com

Twitter : @voicesoffamlaw

Instagram: @voicesoffamlaw

2 thoughts on “S1, Ep 4. Non-consensual adoption

  1. tummum says:

    Thank you for this, lovely ladies and thank you so much for the mention Natasha Philips. I know youve been trying so hard to get my voice heard.

    I believe the foundations need to be considered first with an investigation into just how many miscarriages of justice have already occured. We cannot see full transparency when Judgements are being hidden from public view.

    We cannot see full accountability publicly, when stories get published detailing the mistakes children’s social worker’s have made where their names and the names of the corresponding Council have been redacted causing the general public to only be getting half of the full picture of what exactly is really going wrong.

    It is truly concerning how the public is being misguided and misled and so much more traumatic for the families wrongly affected. Family Campaigners are shouting out now, more than I’ve ever known in all these years and are seeing it as their moral duty to help get one another’s stories out there.

    I wholly believe that adoptions need to be open for the sake of the child, in their best interests not only now but in the future. Then special guardianship orders would benefit the child more, which is who it’s all about. My child is home now as a young adult, but the problem is there are children growing up grieving for the parent they will never get to see again when the poor child has no memory of them. Many children will grow up to learn they have sadly lost one of their (natural) parents at least research has shown. My grown up child is one of them and has been so upset not getting the chance to see their dad or to answer the questions they would have had for them. It is truly heartbreaking. How do we comfort our child then.

    Potential adopters are misguided and misled, being told their home will be a forever home which then gets pushed onto the child. I believe it’s totally unacceptable whenever we see published that a child needs a loving home as if to imply they never already had one. How can this be the case when some of us got to keep our other children. Does it wholly follow, when it makes no logical sense in circumstances like these. Can a parent truly and realistically be considered fit to parent all of their other children ny the end of matters and not the youngest, often a baby when it concerns forced adoption.

    My Case had turned me to drink, when I lost my child and I’m lucky to still be here (recovering alcoholic of 10 years 2nd August 2019 I believe) I was considered a fit enough parent then to keep my 3 other children home, where my eldest had remained in my full time care all throughout and did the best out of all my children. I wasn’t alcoholic BEFORE then, but none of them came to take my other 3 children then and I’d been the one who asked social services (since changed their name to children’s social services) for their support temporarily at the beginning.

    Parents are not getting the support when their child/ren come home where it concerns forced adoption (and forced alleged adoption) in my child’s case. I tried for a full investigation with my Case and was told there is no jurisdiction post adoption even though I challenged the authenticity of said alleged adoption, with the blessing of my grown up child,; who I had the evidence wants answers too.

    The grieving process starts up all over again when our child comes home. I tried getting miscarriage of justice (potential) addressed through Tribunal Court for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and wanted to see leaflets/booklets published and pushed through all said doors, to give families affected with the care system information to their rights early on for them. I failed to succeed where it got stated in the Judgement that the Appellant does not make accusations for the sake of it.

    I am so compassionate about it, I wrote this short easy guide reference book to help families. It’s just such a shame that not all who need this information are in a position to be able to see it with the way austerity has headed.


    I know and have witnessed how hard Natasha Philips has tried pushing for changes, like myself has done as well as seeing parents being restricted and gagged even years after their Case ended; so our Social Worker’s directory inviting parents to leave their more positive feedback is vital.

    I also want to see full investigations done where abuse (be it physical or sexual) reported with complaints gets taken seriously. It ought to be mandatory the parents receiving a written outcome and if investigations took place or not. It would be interesting to learn of the statistics for each child who went on to suffer abuse in this way, following a parent(s) complaining about the care their child received in children’s homes, shared care with the Local Authority and foster care at least.

    We need a public inquiry with illegal adoptions where the law has been broken for families in England, Scotland and Wales, like is already happening in Ireland with regards Tusla.

    From one broken mum and grandparent speaking on behalf of all families wrongly affected, including the ones gone on to lose family members when we’re more at risk of facing early deaths if not by suicide because severing all face to face contact is killing us, so positive changes need to be made for not only the next generation but for the ones still living this nightmare now and their precious family’s .

    Thank you x


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