Clause 47 Adoption by Married Couples or Single People

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 20 November 2001.

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We ask the Government to consider allowing two adults in a stable long term relationship to adopt a child jointly. It is now estimated that 40% of children are born outside marriage, with many adults living in committed relationships but not in marriage. If joint adoption is restricted to married adults, the opportunity for children to find adoptive parents is reduced—there is already a shortage of adopters for many groups of children. Unmarried couples are deterred form adopting because they cannot apply jointly. Public opinion is in favour of change. BAAF commissioned a Mori Survey in September 2001, which showed that 68% of respondents supported joint adoption by unmarried couples in stable long-term relationships. The issue is not about equality for adults but about the need for children to have the lifelong legal relationship with those adults whom they regard as their parents. The Bill does provide that two adults living together may apply jointly for a special guardianship order but the lifelong security of an adoption order may be preferred.