Unmarried couples should be allowed to jointly adopt children
the government has conceded, writes Clare
Alan Milburn said MPs would be given a free vote later this
month on whether the Adoption and Children Bill should be amended
to allow unmarried couples to jointly adopt children.
He announced that he would support an amendment, saying that
they were “not extending the right to adopt, but extending the
right of children to be adopted”.
Under current legislation children can be adopted by unmarried
couples, but only one partner is given the legal status of adoptive
parent. The Adoption and Children Bill originally reaffirmed that
adoption should only be viable for single people and married
couples making a joint adoption.
But children’s agencies warned MPs earlier this year that
the number of children who benefit from adoption would be severely
restricted unless the bill is changed.
A coalition of 19 agencies, led by BAAF Adoption and Fostering,
and including Adoption UK, Barnardo’s and the Association of
Directors of Social Services, urged MPs to back a cross party
amendment to the bill allowing unmarried couples to adopt
Meanwhile, a department of health study has revealed a need for
a stronger national co ordination of child placement policy.
The study found significant variations in whether local
authorities plan for either adoption or long term fostering for
children in care.
Researchers have raised concern about the length of time the
adoption process took, the number of children who experienced
multiple placements and the impact of government targets on
‘The plan for the child: Adoption or long term fostering’ is
available from 020 7593 2072.