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4.1.1 Values of the Adoption Service


This chapter was significantly updated in April 2012 to take account of the Adoption Services National Minimum Standards 2011.

Values - Children

  • The child’s welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of the adoption process;
  • Adopted children should have an enjoyable childhood, and benefit from excellent parenting and education, enjoying a wide range of opportunities to develop their talents and skills leading to a successful adult life;
  • Children are entitled to grow up as part of a loving family that can meet their developmental needs during childhood and beyond;
  • Children’s wishes and feelings are important and will be actively sought and fully taken into account at all stages of the adoption process;
  • Delays should be avoided as they can have a severe impact on the health and development of the children waiting to be adopted;
  • A sense of identity is important to a child’s well-being. To help children develop this, their ethnic origin, cultural background, religion, language and sexuality need to be properly recognised and positively valued and promoted;
  • The particular needs of disabled children and children with complex needs will be fully recognised and taken into account;
  • Where a child cannot be cared for in a suitable manner in their own country, intercountry adoption may be considered as an alternative means of providing a permanent family;
  • Children, birth parents/guardians and families and adoptive parents and families will be valued and respected;
  • A genuine partnership between all those involved in adoption is essential for the NMS to deliver the best outcomes for children; this includes the Government, local government, other statutory agencies, Voluntary Adoption Agencies and Adoption Support Agencies.

Values - Adopted Adults and Birth Relatives

  • Adoption is an evolving life-long process for all those involved - adopted adults, and birth and adoptive relatives. The fundamental issues raised by adoption may reverberate and resurface at different times and stages throughout an individual’s life;
  • Adopted people should have access to information and services to enable them to address adoption related matters throughout their life;
  • Agencies have a duty to provide services that considers the welfare of all parties involved and should consider the implications of decisions and actions for everyone involved;
  • Agencies should seek to work in partnership with all parties involved, taking account of their views and wishes in decision-making;
  • Agencies should acknowledge differences in people’s circumstances and establish policies that provide non-discriminatory services;
  • Adopted adults have their adoptive identity safeguarded and the right to decide whether to be involved in contact or communication with birth family members.

The Welfare Checklist

Section 1 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides that whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child, it must have regard to the following matters (among others):

  1. The child's ascertainable wishes and feelings regarding the decision (considered in the light of the child's age and understanding);
  2. The child's particular needs;
  3. The likely effect on the child (throughout his life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person;
  4. The child's age, sex, background and any of the child's characteristics which the court or agency considers relevant;
  5. Any harm (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989) which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  6. The relationship which the child has with relatives and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant, including:
    1. The likelihood of any such relationship continuing and the value to the child of its doing so;
    2. The ability and willingness of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, to provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop, and otherwise to meet the child's needs;
    3. The wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, regarding the child.