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What is a Placement Order?

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A Placement Order is a Court Order which says that a Local Authority can place a child for adoption with prospective adopters, who have passed all the necessary checks and are a suitable match for a child. It does not mean a child has been adopted. However, it is usual for the Local Authority to start making plans for the child to be adopted.

A Placement Order differs from an Adoption Order. An Adoption Order gives the potential adopters full parental responsibility and removes the birth parents’ parental responsibility.

What happens when a Placement Order is granted?

The Local Authority apply for a Placement Order when they believe that a child needs to be adopted as there are no other viable options and the child is at risk of significant harm. The Judge will look into the child’s welfare and there are different factors which are looked into such as:

  • The child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings,
  • The child’s particular needs,
  • The likely effect on the child’s life,
  • The child’s age, sex, background, and any characteristics which needs consideration,
  • Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering,
  • The child’s relationship with relatives.

Once the child has been living with the prospective adopters for at least 10 weeks, the prospective adopters can then apply for an Adoption Order.

How does a Placement Order affect your parental responsibility?

When a Placement Order is made it is usually made alongside a Final Care Order. The Final Care Order grants parental responsibility to the Local Authority and the Placement Order has the effect of suspending a Care Order and transfers parental responsibility to the Adoption Agency who are responsible for placing the child. The Local Authority also have the power to restrict the parental responsibility of the child’s parents. The prospective adopters can in some circumstances also get parental responsibility. This means that when a child is placed with potential adopters, the Local Authority, potential adopters, and the birth parents could all hold parental responsibility over the child. However, the Local Authority have the power to restrict how the others can exercise their parental responsibility.

How long does a Placement Order last?

A Placement Order will continue until a child is adopted. Then a separate order will be made by the Court called an Adoption Order. A Placement Order can also last until the child reaches the age of 18, marries, an Adoption Order is made or if the order is otherwise revoked by a Judge.

Can a Placement Order be revoked?

Once a Placement Order has been made by the Court, you are able to revoke this order by submitting an application. Any person can apply to revoke a Placement Order, but you will have to apply for permission from the Judge. This permission is often called “leave”. This application must be made before the child is placed with the prospective adoptive family otherwise it would be deemed as too late. The Court would only give permission to apply to revoke a Placement Order if satisfied that there has been a change in circumstances since the Order was made.

How can we Help?

Johnson Astills Care Team may be able to assist you if a Placement Order has been made or is going to be made and prepare your written evidence to the Court to demonstrate that it would be in the child’s best interest to be returned home. Legal Aid is sometimes available.

We understand that the Local Authority being involved with your children can be very stressful and that is why we are here to help and provide advice. We have experience in assisting parents at all stages of Local Authority involvement.

Please contact Johnson Astills at either our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610 312 and ask or a member of the Care Team. Alternatively you contact us through our free online enquiry form or email us at careteam@johnsonastills.com and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.