Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – January 2015

Welcome to our first issue of 2015 and Happy New Year to all our readers!

We start this issue reminding you of the item that we published in an extra update on 19 December about an Addendum to the adoption court judgements myth buster, following a new Court of Appeal judgment on adoption, in which Lord Justice Mumby clarifies his previous judgment, Re B-S. Also in this update are items covering the publication of adoption maps on 24 December and the invitation to participate in the Honours List in 2015, among others. We trust you will find this issue helpful.

Addendum to the Myth-Buster: Impact of Court Judgments on Adoption: What the judgments do and do not say
A key new Court of Appeal judgment on adoption, Re R, was published on 17 December, which clarifies Re B-S and sets out clearly that the law on adoption has not changed.

The original Myth-Buster guide was published by the national Adoption Leadership Board (ALB) on 11 November to clarify the meaning of a number of high profile court judgments on care and adoption order cases, notably Re B and Re B-S.

The guide can be accessed through the websites of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and First for Adoption (F4A)

The ALB has issued an addendum to the original guide to include key messages from Re R.

The addendum can be accessed at:

The Judgment can be accessed at:

The ALB would be grateful if you would ensure that the addendum and a copy of the Re R judgment is seen by everyone in your organisation who has an involvement in adoption, such as those working in care planning and adoption teams. The addendum will be distributed to staff at all levels and across various disciplines in local authorities and to the family justice system via Local Family Justice Boards. You should ensure it is circulated to all those working in care and adoption proceedings to make sure that procedures, practice and decision making accurately reflect the law.

New Adoption maps
Potential adopters can access new interactive maps which were published in December 2014 using quarterly data provided to the Adoption Leadership Board. These new maps show the numbers of children waiting in each local authority and the total for each region. It also includes a new map covering voluntary adoption agencies in England. They also show how long it can take to be matched to a child and signposts users to where they can find further information.

The new maps are available on the First4Adoption website at:

Adopted children and priority school admissions: New Admissions Code of Practice
In May 2014, new guidance was issued to school admission authorities asking them to give the highest priority to all children who were previously looked after children but who ceased to be so because they were adopted or became subject to a special guardianship order or child arrangements order (formally known as a residence order).

A new School Admissions Code came into force on 19 December 2014 which now makes it a statutory requirement for school admission authorities to give the highest priority to these children. To be eligible, the child must have been in care in either England or Wales and now living in England.

The new Code can be found at:

Honours List 2015
Congratulations to all those in the Adoption sector and the Family Justice System who were recognised in the New Year Honours list.

We are currently looking for nominations for the next round and would like to encourage adoption services to consider whether they know individuals that they feel deserve to be recognised for their commitment to adoption and their contribution to their communities through the honours system. We are particularly keen to see nominations from all parts of our diverse workforce and from across the country as we receive very few nominations for adopters outside the South East.

The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world and has evolved over 650 years to the system we use today. Honours are awarded to people from all sections of society and walks of life. In the same way that many different types of people adopt, many different types of people can be nominated for and awarded honours. Those that are awarded honours are exceptional people. Do you know someone who has made a significant difference, has demonstrated exemplary or selfless service, earned the respect of their peers or improved the lives of those less able to help themselves? Examples could include;

  • A person/couple who has/have adopted a child or children with very severe needs.
  • An adopter who has set up a support group for other parents who adopt or who has done a lot of voluntary work in other areas.
  • A social worker who has also adopted and has used their experience to influence the way their work is delivered.
  • A worker in a local or regional adoption agency who is also involved in voluntary work in their local community.
  • Someone who started a voluntary group that is now a fully-fledged organisation meeting a previously unmet need.

More information about the honours system can be found at the GOV.UK website.

You’ll find the nomination form here.

You may send the nomination form, supporting materials and direct any enquiries to

First4Adoption Update
Social media success
First4Adoption is happy to announce that it now has 2,000 Facebook followers.  Between 6-12 January alone, more than 12,000 people commented, shared or clicked a piece of content on the page.  The F4A team would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the growth of its online community which now comprises would-be adopters, parents and adoption professionals.  If you would like information about managing and maximising the impact of social media, you can find it here:

First4Adoption “Meet the Adopter” webcast
Starting on Wednesday 28 January from 6.30pm, F4A will be hosting a series of 'Meet the Adopter' webcasts.  Guests for the first one are adoptive parents, Tor Docherty and Rupert Smith, who will be sharing their insights and experiences as gay adopters.  The event will be streamed live on the F4A website and you can take part on the night or e-mail your questions and contributions to

Adoption recruitment
A number of potential adopters have contacted F4A because some agencies have told them they are not recruiting but have not referred them elsewhere.  It is crucial that all of us in the sector continue to ensure that would-be parents are never made to feel “unwanted”.  If your agency is not currently recruiting, please signpost potential adopters to First4Adoption where their expectations can be managed and can receive encouragement and information from a trained adviser.

Keep in touch with First4Adoption
Please keep First4Adoption up to date with your current recruitment needs.  Agencies may also want to check their listings on the F4A agency finder at and, where necessary, provide up-to-date information.

Please contact or call on 0300 222 0022

Video clips of adopters and adoption professionals
You may be interested to see a couple of short video clips of adopters and adoption professionals that were filmed at the National Adoption Week Awards last November. The clips featured are:

Adopters share how they got started on their adoption story:


Meet the professionals who have helped to start their adoption story:

Please feel free to use these videos on your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

Keeping you in touch
We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members. If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated. If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list, they should send their name, email address, job title and contact details to

If you have any suggestions as to how we might make these updates more useful to you – or items you would like to see – please let us know by contacting the email address above.

Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education 
January 2015