Putting children and young people first in the family courts


Adopting a stepchild: what is Cafcass’ role


To adopt your partner's child you need to apply for an adoption order.  The court may then ask Cafcass to become involved.   Cafcass' role is to make sure the adults understand what the adoption means for them and the child, and that the birth parents really do agree to it.


What is an adoption order


An adoption order transfers parental responsibility from one person to another. 


If an adoption order is made, the applicant will become the legal parent of the child (along with their partner).  The legal relationship between the child and the other birth parent will be broken. This is a permanent decision and cannot be reversed at a later date.


How will Cafcass work with you


If everyone agrees to the adoption the Cafcass worker is known as a Reporting Officer. The Reporting Officer will speak to everybody involved, 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.  If the birth parent does not have parental responsibility then their consent will not be obtained.


The Cafcass officer will not be able to witness consent if the birth parent lives out of the country but may be able to suggest who else can witness consent.


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 apply for an adoption order on the gov.uk child adoption page

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