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5.1.5 Welfare Checklist


This is an extract from the Adoption and Children Act 2002 outlining the ‘Welfare Checklist’.

The following applies whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relation to the adoption of a child.

The paramount consideration of the court or adoption agency must be the child’s welfare, throughout his or her life.

The court or adoption agency must at all times bear in mind that, in general, any delay in coming to a decision is likely to prejudice the child’s welfare.

The court or adoption agency must have regard to the following matters (among others)

  1. The child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings regarding adoption (in the light of the child’s age and understanding);
  2. The child’s particular needs;
  3. The likely effect on the child (throughout his life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person;
  4. The child’s age, sex, background and any relevant characteristics which the court or agency consider relevant;
  5. Any harm (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989) which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  6. The relationship which the child has with relatives, and with any other person with whom the child has a significant relationship. This should also include:
    1. The likelihood of that relationship continuing and the value to the child of it doing so;
    2. The ability and willingness of such a person to provide the child with a secure environment and meet his needs);
    3. The wishes and feelings of such a person regarding the child.
  7. In placing the child for adoption, the adoption agency must give due consideration to the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.
  8. The court or adoption agency must always consider the whole range of powers available in a child’s case (whether under this Act or the Children Act 1989). The court must not make any order under this Act unless it considers that the making of the order would be better for the child than not doing so.