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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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Placement for adoption or legal limbo?
Date:2 AUG 2012

Peggy Ray
Goodman Ray Solicitors

There is a current focus on the speed of care and placement order proceedings and a more flexible approach to matching children with prospective adopters. The Court has endorsed placement orders being made in ‘dual planning' cases of adoption with a default plan of foster care. This article looks at the legal risks for challenging children (and their families) when finding likely adoptive placements may be optimistic and the real likelihood is that these children will remain in long term foster care whilst remaining subject to placement orders. The legal protections which ensure a local authority works in partnership with families while children are subject to care orders are significantly diminished under placement orders. This has implications for the Art 8 rights of both children and parents. The article looks in detail at these differences and suggests practical ways of minimising potential problems. It also examines the problem of the different philosophical framework in which social work practitioners operate between the adoption and care legislation, and the impact on decision making in relation to contact and other issues.

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