Search Legislation

Adoption and Children Act 2002

Changes to legislation:

There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Adoption and Children Act 2002. Those changes will be listed when you open the content using the Table of Contents below. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the affected provisions when you open the content using the Table of Contents below.

  1. Introductory Text

  2. Part 1 Adoption

    1. Chapter 1 Introductory

      1. 1. Considerations applying to the exercise of powers

    2. Chapter 2 The Adoption Service

      1. The Adoption Service

        1. 2. Basic definitions

        2. 3. Maintenance of Adoption Service

        3. 4. Assessments etc. for adoption support services

        4. 5. Local authority plans for adoption services

        5. 6. Arrangements on cancellation of registration

        6. 7. Inactive or defunct adoption societies etc.

        7. 8. Adoption support agencies

      2. Regulations

        1. 9. General power to regulate adoption etc. agencies

        2. 10. Management etc. of agencies

        3. 11. Fees

        4. 12. Independent review of determinations

      3. Supplemental

        1. 13. Information concerning adoption

        2. 14. Default power of appropriate Minister

        3. 15. Inspection of premises etc.

        4. 16. Distribution of functions in relation to registered adoption societies

        5. 17. Inquiries

    3. Chapter 3 Placement for adoption and adoption orders

      1. Placement of children by adoption agency for adoption

        1. 18. Placement for adoption by agencies

        2. 19. Placing children with parental consent

        3. 20. Advance consent to adoption

        4. 21. Placement orders

        5. 22. Applications for placement orders

        6. 23. Varying placement orders

        7. 24. Revoking placement orders

        8. 25. Parental responsibility

        9. 26. Contact

        10. 27. Contact: supplementary

        11. 28. Further consequences of placement

        12. 29. Further consequences of placement orders

      2. Removal of children who are or may be placed by adoption agencies

        1. 30. General prohibitions on removal

        2. 31. Recovery by parent etc. where child not placed or is a baby

        3. 32. Recovery by parent etc. where child placed and consent withdrawn

        4. 33. Recovery by parent etc. where child placed and placement order refused

        5. 34. Placement orders: prohibition on removal

        6. 35. Return of child in other cases

      3. Removal of children in non-agency cases

        1. 36. Restrictions on removal

        2. 37. Applicants for adoption

        3. 38. Local authority foster parents

        4. 39. Partners of parents

        5. 40. Other non-agency cases

      4. Breach of restrictions on removal

        1. 41. Recovery orders

      5. Preliminaries to adoption

        1. 42. Child to live with adopters before application

        2. 43. Reports where child placed by agency

        3. 44. Notice of intention to adopt

        4. 45. Suitability of adopters

      6. The making of adoption orders

        1. 46. Adoption orders

        2. 47. Conditions for making adoption orders

        3. 48. Restrictions on making adoption orders

        4. 49. Applications for adoption

        5. 50. Adoption by couple

        6. 51. Adoption by one person

      7. Placement and adoption: general

        1. 52. Parental etc. consent

        2. 53. Modification of 1989 Act in relation to adoption

        3. 54. Disclosing information during adoption process

        4. 55. Revocation of adoptions on legitimation

      8. Disclosure of information in relation to a person’s adoption

        1. 56. Information to be kept about a person’s adoption

        2. 57. Restrictions on disclosure of protected etc. information

        3. 58. Disclosure of other information

        4. 59. Offence

        5. 60. Disclosing information to adopted adult

        6. 61. Disclosing protected information about adults

        7. 62. Disclosing protected information about children

        8. 63. Counselling

        9. 64. Other provision to be made by regulations

        10. 65. Sections 56 to 65: interpretation

    4. Chapter 4 Status of Adopted Children

      1. 66. Meaning of adoption in Chapter 4

      2. 67. Status conferred by adoption

      3. 68. Adoptive relatives

      4. 69. Rules of interpretation for instruments concerning property

      5. 70. Dispositions depending on date of birth

      6. 71. Property devolving with peerages etc.

      7. 72. Protection of trustees and personal representatives

      8. 73. Meaning of disposition

      9. 74. Miscellaneous enactments

      10. 75. Pensions

      11. 76. Insurance

    5. Chapter 5 The Registers

      1. Adopted Children Register etc.

        1. 77. Adopted Children Register

        2. 78. Searches and copies

        3. 79. Connections between the register and birth records

      2. Adoption Contact Register

        1. 80. Adoption Contact Register

        2. 81. Adoption Contact Register: supplementary

      3. General

        1. 82. Interpretation

    6. Chapter 6 Adoptions with a foreign element

      1. Bringing children into and out of the United Kingdom

        1. 83. Restriction on bringing children in

        2. 84. Giving parental responsibility prior to adoption abroad

        3. 85. Restriction on taking children out

        4. 86. Power to modify sections 83 and 85

      2. Overseas adoptions

        1. 87. Overseas adoptions

      3. Miscellaneous

        1. 88. Modification of section 67 for Hague Convention adoptions

        2. 89. Annulment etc. of overseas or Hague Convention adoptions

        3. 90. Section 89: supplementary

        4. 91. Overseas determinations and orders

    7. Chapter 7 Miscellaneous

      1. Restrictions

        1. 92. Restriction on arranging adoptions etc.

        2. 93. Offence of breaching restrictions under section 92

        3. 94. Restriction on reports

        4. 95. Prohibition of certain payments

        5. 96. Excepted payments

        6. 97. Sections 92 to 96: interpretation

      2. Information

        1. 98. Pre-commencement adoptions: information

      3. Proceedings

        1. 99. Proceedings for offences

        2. 100. Appeals

        3. 101. Privacy

      4. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

        1. 102. Officers of the Service

        2. 103. Right of officers of the Service to have access to adoption agency records

      5. Evidence

        1. 104. Evidence of consent

      6. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Islands

        1. 105. Effect of certain Scottish orders and provisions

        2. 106. Effect of certain Northern Irish orders and provisions

        3. 107. Use of adoption records from other parts of the British Islands

        4. 108. Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

      7. General

        1. 109. Avoiding delay

        2. 110. Service of notices etc.

  3. Part 2 Amendments of the Children Act 1989

    1. 111. Parental responsibility of unmarried father

    2. 112. Acquisition of parental responsibility by step-parent

    3. 113. Section 8 orders: local authority foster parents

    4. 114. Residence orders: extension to age of 18

    5. 115. Special guardianship

    6. 116. Accommodation of children in need etc.

    7. 117. Inquiries by local authorities into representations

    8. 118. Review of cases of looked after children

    9. 119. Advocacy services

    10. 120. Meaning of “harm” in the 1989 Act

    11. 121. Care plans

    12. 122. Interests of children in proceedings

  4. Part 3 Miscellaneous and final provisions

    1. Chapter 1 Miscellaneous

      1. Advertisements in the United Kingdom

        1. 123. Restriction on advertisements etc.

        2. 124. Offence of breaching restriction under section 123

      2. Adoption and Children Act Register

        1. 125. Adoption and Children Act Register

        2. 126. Use of an organisation to establish the register

        3. 127. Use of an organisation as agency for payments

        4. 128. Supply of information for the register

        5. 129. Disclosure of information

        6. 130. Territorial application

        7. 131. Supplementary

      3. Other miscellaneous provisions

        1. 132. Amendment of Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978: contravention of sections 30 to 36 of this Act

        2. 133. Scottish restriction on bringing children into or out of United Kingdom

        3. 134. Amendment of Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978: overseas adoptions

        4. 135. Adoption and fostering: criminal records

        5. 136. Payment of grants in connection with welfare services

        6. 137. Extension of the Hague Convention to British overseas territories

        7. 138. Proceedings in Great Britain

      4. Amendments etc.

        1. 139. Amendments, transitional and transitory provisions, savings and repeals

    2. Chapter 2 Final provisions

      1. 140. Orders, rules and regulations

      2. 141. Rules of procedure

      3. 142. Supplementary and consequential provision

      4. 143. Offences by bodies corporate and unincorporated bodies

      5. 144. General interpretation etc.

      6. 145. Devolution: Wales

      7. 146. Expenses

      8. 147. Glossary

      9. 148. Commencement

      10. 149. Extent

      11. 150. Short title

  5. SCHEDULES

    1. SCHEDULE 1

      Registration of adoptions

      1. 1.Registration of adoption orders

      2. 2.Registration of adoptions in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

      3. 3.Registration of other adoptions

      4. 4.Amendment of orders and rectification of Registers and other records

      5. 5.Marking of entries on re-registration of birth on legitimation

      6. 6.Cancellations in registers on legitimation

    2. SCHEDULE 2

      Disclosure of birth records by Registrar General

      1. 1.On an application made in the prescribed manner by an...

      2. 2.(1) Before giving any information to an applicant under paragraph...

      3. 3.(1) Where an adopted person who is in England and...

      4. 4.(1) Where a person— (a) was adopted before 12th November...

    3. SCHEDULE 3

      Minor and consequential amendments

      1. 1.The Marriage Act 1949 (c. 76)

      2. 2.In subsection (1), for “person or persons specified in subsection...

      3. 3.For subsection (1A) there is substituted— (1A) The appropriate persons...

      4. 4.For subsection (1B) there is substituted— (1B) In this section—...

      5. 5.In subsection (2), for “The last foregoing subsection” there is...

      6. 6.The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 (c. 20)

      7. 7.In section 10A of the Births and Deaths Registration Act...

      8. 8.The Sexual Offences Act 1956 (c. 69)

      9. 9.The Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 (c. 46)

      10. 10.In section 64 (financial assistance by the Secretary of State...

      11. 11.In section 65 (financial and other assistance by local authorities...

      12. 12.The Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 (c. 42)

      13. 13.In section 7D (default powers of Secretary of State as...

      14. 14.In Schedule 1 (enactments conferring functions assigned to social services...

      15. 15.The Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77)

      16. 16.The Legitimacy Act 1976 (c. 31)

      17. 17.In section 4 (legitimation of adopted child)—

      18. 18.In section 6 (dispositions depending on date of birth), at...

      19. 19.The Adoption Act 1976 (c. 36)

      20. 20.The National Health Service Act 1977 (c. 49)

      21. 21.The Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 (c. 28)

      22. 22.In section 11 (restriction on arranging adoptions and placing of...

      23. 23.In section 16 (parental agreement to adoption order)—

      24. 24.In section 29 (return of children taken away in breach...

      25. 25.In section 45 (Adopted Children Register)— (a) in subsection (6)(d),...

      26. 26.In section 47 (annulment etc. of overseas adoptions), in subsection...

      27. 27.In section 50 (restriction on removal of children for adoption...

      28. 28.Section 52 (restriction on advertisements) is omitted.

      29. 29.In section 53 (effect of determination and orders made in...

      30. 30.After section 53 there is inserted— Effect of certain orders...

      31. 31.In section 54 (evidence of adoption in England, Wales and...

      32. 32.In section 56 (authorised courts), in subsection (3), for “Great...

      33. 33.In section 59 (rules of procedure)— (a) in subsection (2)—...

      34. 34.In section 60 (orders, rules and regulations), after subsection (3)...

      35. 35.In section 65 (interpretation), in subsection (1)—

      36. 36.The Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (c. 43)

      37. 37.In section 65 (meaning of family proceedings), in subsection (1),...

      38. 38.In section 69 (sitting of magistrates’ courts for family proceedings),...

      39. 39.In section 71 (newspaper reports of family proceedings)—

      40. 40.In Part 1 of Schedule 6 (fees to be taken...

      41. 41.The Mental Health Act 1983 (c. 20)

      42. 42.The Child Abduction Act 1984 (c. 37)

      43. 43.(1) The Schedule to that Act (modifications of section 1...

      44. 44.The Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (c. 42)

      45. 45.The Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 (c. 60)

      46. 46.The Family Law Act 1986 (c. 55)

      47. 47.In section 1 (orders to which Part 1 applies), in...

      48. 48.In section 2 (jurisdiction: general), after subsection (2) there is...

      49. 49.In section 57 (declarations as to adoptions effected overseas)—

      50. 50.The Family Law Reform Act 1987 (c. 42)

      51. 51.In section 1 (general principle), for paragraph (c) of subsection...

      52. 52.In section 19 (dispositions of property), in subsection (5), after...

      53. 53.The Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 (S.I. 1987/2203 (N.I. 22))

      54. 54.The Children Act 1989 (c. 41)

      55. 55.In section 8 (residence, contact and other orders with respect...

      56. 56.In section 10 (power of court to make section 8...

      57. 57.In section 12 (residence orders and parental responsibility), in subsection...

      58. 58.In section 16 (family assistance orders), in subsection (2)(a), for...

      59. 59.In section 20 (provision of accommodation for children: general), in...

      60. 60.In section 24 (persons qualifying for advice and assistance)—

      61. 61.In section 24A (advice and assistance for qualifying persons)—

      62. 62.In section 24B (assistance with employment, education and training), in...

      63. 63.In section 33 (effect of care order)—

      64. 64.In section 34 (parental contact etc. with children in care)—...

      65. 65.In section 80 (inspection of children’s homes by persons authorised...

      66. 66.In section 81 (inquiries), in subsection (1), paragraph (b) is...

      67. 67.In section 88 (amendments of adoption legislation), subsection (1) is...

      68. 68.In section 91 (effect and duration of orders, etc.)—

      69. 69.In section 102 (power of constable to assist in exercise...

      70. 70.In section 105 (interpretation), in subsection (1)—

      71. 71.In Schedule 1 (financial provision for children)—

      72. 72.In Schedule 2, in paragraph 19 (arrangements by local authorities...

      73. 73.In Schedule 8 (privately fostered children), in paragraph 5, for...

      74. 74.Part 1 of Schedule 10 is omitted.

      75. 75.In Schedule 11 (jurisdiction), in paragraphs 1 and 2, for...

      76. 76.The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (c. 37)

      77. 77.In section 27 (meaning of mother), in subsection (2), for...

      78. 78.In section 28 (meaning of father), in subsection (5)(c), for...

      79. 79.In section 30 (parental orders in favour of gamete donors),...

      80. 80.The Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (c. 41)

      81. 81.The Child Support Act 1991 (c. 48)

      82. 82.The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (c. 36)

      83. 83.In subsection (3), in paragraph (a), for “section 18 (freeing...

      84. 84.In subsection (6), in paragraph (b), for the words from...

      85. 85.The Family Law Act 1996 (c. 27)

      86. 86.In section 62 (meaning of “relevant child” etc.)—

      87. 87.At the end of that section there is inserted—

      88. 88.In section 63 (interpretation of Part 4)—

      89. 89.The Housing Act 1996 (c. 52)

      90. 90.In subsection (2), for the words from “has been freed”...

      91. 91.After that subsection there is inserted— (2A) A child falls...

      92. 92.In subsection (3), for the definition of “adoption order”, there...

      93. 93.The Police Act 1997 (c. 50)

      94. 94.The Protection of Children Act 1999 (c. 14)

      95. 95.The Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999 (c. 18)

      96. 96.Section 2 of that Act (accredited bodies) is amended as...

      97. 97.In subsection (2A)— (a) for the words from the beginning...

      98. 98.For subsection (5) there is substituted— (5) In this section,...

      99. 99.In subsection (6)— (a) the words “in its application to...

      100. 100.Section 14 (restriction on bringing children into the United Kingdom...

      101. 101.In section 16(1) (devolution: Wales), the words “, or section...

      102. 102.The Access to Justice Act 1999 (c. 22)

      103. 103.The Care Standards Act 2000 (c. 14)

      104. 104.In section 4 (basic definitions), in subsection (7), for “the...

      105. 105.At the end of section 5 (registration authorities) there is...

      106. 106.In section 11 (requirement to register), in subsection (3), for...

      107. 107.In section 14 (2) (offences conviction of which may result...

      108. 108.In section 16(2) (power to make regulations providing that no...

      109. 109.In section 22(10) (disapplication of power to make regulations in...

      110. 110.In section 23 (standards), at the end of subsection (4)(d)...

      111. 111.In section 31 (inspections by authorised persons), in subsection (3)(b),...

      112. 112.In section 43 (introductory), in subsection (3)(a)—

      113. 113.In section 46 (inspections: supplementary), in subsection (7)(c), for “section...

      114. 114.In section 48 (regulation of fostering functions), at the end...

      115. 115.In section 55(2)(b) (definition of “social care worker”), for “or...

      116. 116.In section 121 (general interpretation)— (a) in subsection (1), in...

      117. 117.In Schedule 4 (minor and consequential amendments), paragraph 27(b) is...

      118. 118.The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (c. 43)

    4. SCHEDULE 4

      Transitional and transitory provisions and savings

      1. 1.General rules for continuity

      2. 2.General rule for old savings

      3. 3.Adoption support services

      4. 4.Regulation of adoption agencies

      5. 5.Independent review mechanism

      6. 6.Pending applications for freeing orders

      7. 7.Freeing orders

      8. 8.Pending applications for adoption orders

      9. 9.Notification of adoption applications

      10. 10.Adoptions with a foreign element

      11. 11.In section 56 of the Adoption Act 1976 (restriction on...

      12. 12.For section 56A of the Adoption Act 1976 (c. 36)...

      13. 13.In section 72 of the Adoption Act 1976 (c. 36)...

      14. 14.Advertising

      15. 15.In section 52 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 (c....

      16. 16.(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations providing for...

      17. 17.Status

      18. 18.Section 69 does not apply to a pre-1976 instrument.

      19. 19.In section 70(1), the reference to Part 3 of the...

      20. 20.Registration of adoptions

      21. 21.The Child Abduction Act 1984 (c. 37)

      22. 22.The Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (c. 41)

      23. 23.The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (c. 36)

    5. SCHEDULE 5

      Repeals

    6. SCHEDULE 6

      Glossary

      1. In this Act, the expressions listed in the left-hand column...

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

You have chosen to open The Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act as a PDF

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open the Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enactedversion that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources