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To be adopted, a child must:

  • be under the age of 18 when the adoption application is made
  • not be (or have never been) married or in a civil partnership

Both birth parents normally have to agree (consent) to the adoption, unless:

  • they can’t be found
  • they’re incapable of giving consent – eg due to a mental disability
  • the child would be put at risk if they weren’t adopted

Anyone may be able to adopt a child if they are aged 21 or over (there’s no upper age limit) and either:

  • single
  • married
  • in a civil partnership
  • an unmarried couple (same sex and opposite sex)
  • the partner of the child’s parent

There are different rules for private adoptions and adoptions of looked-after children.

There is no requirement to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but:

  • you (or your partner, if you’re a couple) must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • you (and your partner, if you’re a couple) must have lived in the UK for at least 1 year before you begin the application process

The rules around adoption leave (subject to proof of adoption) are relatively straightforward:

Statutory Adoption Leave
Eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks Statutory Adoption Leave. The first 26 weeks is known as ‘Ordinary Adoption Leave’, the last 26 weeks as ‘Additional Adoption Leave’.

Unless there is a good reason why this cannot be done, leave can start: up to 14 days before the child starts living with the employee (UK adoptions) when the child arrives in the UK or within 28 days of this date (overseas adoptions) .

Statutory Adoption Pay
Statutory Adoption Pay for eligible employees is £135.45 a week or 90% of their gross average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks of adoption leave.  Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted.

Statutory Adoption Leave
Within 7 days of being matched with a child employees must tell the employer:

  • how much leave they want;
  • their leave start date;
  • the ‘date of placement’ – the date the child is placed with them.

The employers then has 28 days to write confirming their leave start and end date.

Changes to leave dates
Employees must give 8 weeks’ notice if they want to change their return date to work.

Employees must report within 28 days if the date of placement (or UK arrival date for overseas adoptions) any changes.  Employers must write to conform the amended leave start and end dates.

 

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