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What is a placement order?

This is an order authorising a local authority to place a child for adoption.  This order can be made where there is no parental consent, or where consent should be dispensed with.

How can a parent consent?

This means that the consent is the free unconditional agreement of the parent or guardian of a child to that child’s adoption. The consent can be withdrawn at any time up and until an adoption order is made.  The consent must be given The consent must be given on a special form and witnessed by an officer from CAFCASS.

Consent can not be given by a mother who has just given birth until after the first 6 weeks have passed.  In circumstances when the child is younger than 6 weeks old then the child will be placed with an adoption agency who will then seek the mother’s consent or apply for a placement order after the first 6 weeks from birth.

What happens if consent is not given?
  1. The parent or guardian cannot not be found or they are incapable of giving their agreement, e.g. because they are mentally ill.
  2. The court is satisfied that the welfare of the child requires that consent be dispensed with.

However the court needs to be satisfied that efforts have been made to inform the parents or other individuals with parental responsibility that an application for a placement order has been made prior to making the order.