2 Legal and financial

process governed by rules and regulations designed to protect everyone involved
in the process – most importantly the child, but also the adoptive parents and
the birth parents. These laws are designed not only to protect you (and
others), but also to help safeguard your interests. Understanding your legal
entitlements and obligations throughout the adoption process, therefore, can
help you to be prepared and informed consumers every step of the way. Before we
look at your legal entitlements and obligations throughout the adoption
process, it helps to understand the laws that underpin these rights. The main
laws in England and Wales are as follows:

The Adoption and Children
Act 2002
is the statute governing
adoption in England and Wales. The welfare of the child is paramount.

The Children Act 1989 made the welfare of the child paramount and includes
basic principles, such as the definition of parental responsibility and those
followed by the courts in making decisions in children’s cases; orders
providing for the care and maintenance of children; and the responsibilities of
local authorities for children. It is the major statute dealing with child care
law and child protection law.

The Human Rights Act 1998 gives effect in the UK to rights and freedoms
guaranteed under European Convention on Human Rights.

The Protection of Children
Act 1999
provides a cross section
system for identifying people who are considered unsuitable to work with

The Care Standard Act 2000 governs the inspection and registration of fostering
and adoption services. These functions are carried out by the Commission for
Social Care Inspection (CSCI).

There also are many
Regulations that affect adoption, for example, Adoption Agencies Regulations
2005 (SI389), which governs the way in which adoption agencies carry out their
functions (including the function of the adoption panels); and those that
prohibit agencies from approving adopters or foster parents who have been
convicted or have been cautioned for “specified offences”. the Adoption Support
Services Regulations 2005, and the equivalent in Wales, detail the adoption
duties of local authorities.