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Adoption Law Manual is an invaluable reference for all professional people concerned in the adoption of children.
Under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, the welfare of the child, as under the Children Act 1989, becomes the guiding principle in adoption cases and a welfare checklist is introduced. A "no order" principle, and the assumption that delay is prejudicial, are to apply. There are new provisions on consent and advance consent to adoption. The basis for dispensing with consent is amended, the welfare of the child replacing the old requirement of "unreasonably withholding" consent. Unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, will be able to adopt. Placement orders replace freeing orders. Special guardianship is introduced as a "half-way house" affording permanence short of adoption. There is new emphasis on contact between an adopted child and his birth family and others after adoption. Local authorities must provide adoption support services.
Her Honour Judge Pearce describes the principal provisions of the Act, setting her commentary in the context of the case law which remains relevant. She goes on to tackle the provisions of the extensive rules and regulations. These concern the registers: the disclosure of information about adoption; adoption agencies, adoption support agencies; and overseas adoptions, including Convention adoptions.