Children who go into care, can’t always return to live with their parents. Adoption and permanence orders are options to consider.
Children who go into care, can’t always return to live with their parents. In some cases, the courts will decide the best course of action to ensure the child is safe, stable and can grow throughout their childhood in a ‘permanent’ home. There are a number of options for children including adoption and permanence orders.
Permanence orders were introduced by the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 and are applied for by the local authority and are designed to safeguard a child who will not be returning home.
If the local authority thinks that a child cannot live with their birth parents, they will apply to the court for a permanence order which says that the parents or guardians who have parental rights and responsibilities to the child, do not have the right to decide where they live any more. Instead, a permanence order allows foster carers or anyone else caring for the child to have some or all the parent rights and responsibilities needed to make the day-to-day decisions affecting the child.
If the child is 12 years old or over, the local authority must ask if they agree to the permanence order. If they don’t agree, they won’t be able to apply for one. However, if the child is under 12 years old, as long as they can understand what is happening, the local authority must ask what they think before they decide to apply for a permanence order.
To get an adoption order, you will have to apply to court, where they will look at reports from an adoption agency and social workers. To contest an adoption order you must take legal advice at the earliest possible stage. The court will only grant an adoption order if they deem that it is better to make an order than leave things as they are. However, the child must consent to the adoption if they are 12 years old or over. If the child is under 12 years old, and they can understand the situation and have an opinion on it, the court will take these into account.
An adoption order will give the adoptive parents full legal responsibilities and rights of the child and take away the birth families legal rights permanently.
A child can only be adopted if:
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