British Association Adoption & Fostering | The Adoption & Children Act 2002

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The Adoption and Children Act modernised the whole existing legal framework for domestic and intercountry adoption. It also introduced a new legal order, special guardianship, which offers legal permanence for children for whom adoption is not suitable.

On this page:

Full text of the act
National Minimum Standards
Practice Directions and Court Rules
New forms for implementation of Adoption and Children Act
Other relevant information

Latest news

The Department for Education published details of additional amendments to the statutory adoption guidance on 19th April 2011.

Full text of the act

The original and latest revised versions of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 are available online at and the accompanying Explanatory Note is available at:


A list of regulations issued under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in reverse chronological order. Please note that earlier regulations may have been amended or replaced by more recent regulations.

England and Wales

Wales only

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New guidance that came into force on 1st April 2011:

Earlier Guidance

In 2005 the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) published statutory guidance explaining the content of the regulations made under the 2002 Act and the duties and responsibilities that the regulations place on adoption agencies. This has been replaced but is still available on the archived Every Child Matters website.

Additional Guidance and Information

 National Minimum Standards

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) published the following guidance

 Adoption Rules 2005, Practice Directions and prescribed court report forms

The new Family Procedure (Adoption) Rules, which came into force on 30th December 2005, mean that practice and procedure for all elements of adoption proceedings across all levels of courts are now governed by one set of rules. The DCS has published:

Further information on adoption for court users and professionals has been published by Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS).

Other relevant information

BAAF Health and Social Report Forms

BAAF produces a number of forms which provide an integrated system for collecting information about children, birth parents and prospective adoptive parents or foster carers in line with current legislation. A list of the available forms can be found on the BAAF website. Any questions about the BAAF forms and electronic licenses should be put to Charlie Hore at Further sources of information on the bill

DfES leaflets

The Department of Education and Skills (DfES) produced a series of leaflets outlining the key changes introduced by the Adoption and Children Act 2002. These leaflets are aimed at service users and the general public:

Welsh Assembly implementation information

The Welsh Assembly has created a web page containing links to documents released by the Assembly to help the relevant bodies implement the Adoption and Children Act 2002. The page includes information on regulations and guidance, and an archive of consultations on the Act

Searching, access to records and making contact

A website providing information for anyone interested how the new law will affect access to adoption records, and making contact with birth or adopted relatives is available at

Adoption order applications and fees – England and Wales

The court fee is £160 – regardless of the court to which the application is made – including Magistrates Courts. This fee applies to sibling groups too, however large, though you will have to fill in separate application forms for each child.

The adoption application can be made to ANY court – Magistrates (family proceedings court) or County (the County Court must be an adoption centre) – anywhere in England and Wales. The application does not need to be made to the court which previously granted a care order, freeing order or placement order, although details of any relevant previous orders will need to be included in the application.

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