Door may open for unmarried couples

Unmarried couples should be allowed to adopt
children jointly, health secretary Alan Milburn told the House of
Commons this week.

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 adopt

current legislation, children can be adopted by unmarried couples,
but only one partner is given the legal status of adoptive parent –
a position reaffirmed in the original Adoption and Children

children’s agencies warned MPs earlier this year that the number of
children who would benefit from adoption would be severely
restricted unless the bill was changed.

coalition of 19 agencies, including BAAF Adoption & Fostering,
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 jointly.

If MPs
vote in favour of the change, the government will table amendments
in the House of Lords.

Department of Health spokesperson said: “The objective is to
increase the number of vulnerable people who have the opportunity
to grow up as part of a loving, stable and permanent family. It is
important to widen the pool of prospective adopters.”

chief executive Felicity Collier said: “This is about more families
for children.”


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