Putting children and young people first in the family courts


Adopting a child: Cafcass’ role

Cafcass’ involvement will depend on the nature of your case – for example whether the adoption order is being disputed by the birth parents, or whether the potential adopters are relatives.  We can only be involved in a case at the request of the court.


What is adoption


In order to legally adopt a child, you must apply for an adoption order. You can only do this when the child has been living with you for a certain amount of time.


An adoption order cuts all legal ties between an adopted child and their birth parents, and creates a new legal relationship between the child and the adoptive parents.


How is Cafcass involved


There are two types of adoption where Cafcass may be involved,


    • Agency adoptions – where the child was placed for adoption by an adoption agency

  • Non-agency adoption – where the child was not placed for adoption by an agency, but where a relative or friend has taken over the care of a child, for example where the parents have died


If everyone agrees to the adoption the Cafcass worker is known as a Reporting Officer.


The Reporting Officer will speak to everybody involved.  This is to make sure that they


  • understand what the adoption means for them and the child

  • really do agree to the adoption


They will then witness the consent forms being signed and inform the court.


The forms will be sent to the court together with a short report.  This is evidence of the parent’s consent to the adoption.


What happens if a parent does not agree to adoption


If a parent does not agree to the adoption, or cannot be found, Cafcass' role will be different.   Find out what happens if a parent does not agree to adoption.


More information


You can find advice on how to adoption a child on the gov.uk child adoption page 


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