The Adoption and Children Act 2002 is a law in the United Kingdom allowing unmarried people, and same-sex couples, in England and Wales to adopt children. The reforms introduced in the Act were based on a comprehensive review of adoption and were described by The Guardian as "the most radical overhaul of adoption legislation for almost 30 years".[1]

The Act also allows for the introduction of special guardianship, a legal status that allows for a child to be cared for by a person with rights similar to a traditional legal guardian, but without a requirement for absolute legal separation from the child's birth parents.[2][3] Special guardianship provisions were passed into law by statutory instrument in 2005 and came into force in 2006.[4]

The Act also introduced a procedure to allow people to trace relatives given up for adoption through an intermediary if both persons are over 18.

An equivalent Act was passed in Scotland in 2007.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ Mulholland, Hélène (30 December 2005). "Unmarried and same-sex couples free to adopt". the Guardian.
  2. ^ Kate Standley; Paula Davies (28 June 2013). Family Law. Macmillan International Higher Education. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-137-03770-1.
  3. ^ Bradshaw, Jonathan (30 March 2016). The well-being of children in the UK (4th edition). Policy Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-1-4473-2567-3.
  4. ^ The Special Guardianship Regulations 2005
  5. ^ "Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, 2007 asp 4, s. 29". Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  6. ^ Thomas, Ellen (20 September 2009). "New legislation sees gay Scottish couples win right to adopt children". The Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2009.