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Impact of Court Judgments on Adoption

What the judgments do and do not say

1. Over recent years we have seen more children finding permanent and loving homes through a more timely adoption system.
2. But in the last 12 months we have witnessed a significant reduction in the number of placement orders made and in the number of decisions made by local authorities to pursue care plans for adoption. These changes risk reversing the substantial progress made.
3. The national Adoption Leadership Board, Family Justice Board, and the Department for Education have heard regularly that these changes are a response to a number of high profile court judgments on care and adoption order cases, notably Re B and Re B-S. Some of this feedback suggests a degree of misinterpretation of these judgments. This appears to have resulted in inaccurate assumptions being made about the judgments which, in reality, do not alter the legal basis for the making of care and placement orders.
4. In response, the Adoption Leadership Board has developed this short guide with support from an experienced Queen’s Counsel to clarify the meaning of the key court judgments.