Keeping children at the centre of the adoption process

Adoption is about children and not adults. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the needs, wishes, welfare and safety of the child are at the centre of the adoption process.

Children are entitled to grow up as part of a loving family which can meet their needs during childhood and beyond.  Where this security and nurture cannot be provided by the birth family, children are entitled to have adoption considered for them.

The adoption process is a service for the child and their needs must be the focus of all decisions made. Delay in providing stability and a sense of belonging will adversely affect the child's development and is to be avoided.

The planning process and arrangements for decision making need to recognise the child's timescales.

The child must be fully prepared and supported throughout the adoption process; given clear information and explanations about his/her birth family and their past and future role in his/her life and about the adopters. There is likely to be ongoing need for support in a variety of forms.

Departmental records must be securely stored so that they can be accessed to provide information to the adopted person in the future. The child's right to use the Department's complaints procedure must be fully explained and assistance provided as necessary.


The Department will work to the following timescales when considering the future needs of a child:


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