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Adoption in Jersey ( 8.30.55. )

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LOCAL INFORMATION

8.30.55
Adoption in Jersey

Extent: Jersey
Updated 18 November 2013
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Adoption in Jersey

Adoption in Jersey is regulated by the Adoption (Jersey) Law, 1961, as amended, which, in general, is modeled on the English Law of that time. Adoption is the legal process by which children, who cannot be brought up by their own parents, become a full and permanent member of a new family. Legal parental responsibility is transferred to the new family by granting of an Adoption Order by the Courts, so legally adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities they would have if the child had been born to them.

In order to apply for an adoption order, the appropriate application form, available at the Judicial Greffe, has to be completed. General advice, in particular on the completion of the form, can be obtained from the Registrar, Family Division.

In the case of applicants, who are not the natural parents of the child to be adopted, formal notification must also be given to the Children's Service of their intention to apply for an adoption order. In these cases, an adoption order cannot be made before thirteen weeks have elapsed from the date of notification.

Assuming that the applicants are ready to proceed with making the application, they should telephone to make an appointment with the Registrar, Family Division. They will need to bring with them to the appointment, their marriage certificate and the long version of the child's birth certificate.

In all cases of adoption applications, a 'guardian ad litem' is appointed by the Court. The 'guardian ad litem' (the Children's Service or the Probation Service) has to write a report investigating all the circumstances relevant to the proposed adoption and will recommend (or otherwise) that an adoption order be made. It usually takes the 'guardian at litem' a minimum of three months to properly evaluate all the circumstances and so it will take at least that time from application to the granting of the order.

The Royal Court sits in Chambers on Friday mornings to hear uncontested adoption applications.

The cost of obtaining an adoption order is payable in Court Stamps obtainable from the States Treasury. Having obtained the order, an adoption certificate can be obtained from the office of the Superintendent Registrar, 10 Royal Square, St. Helier.

The following types of adoption are encountered in Jersey:

  • -A couple or single person adopts a child previously unknown to them. It is most likely that this child has been placed with foster carers awaiting an adoptive placement. Historically this was arranged between the Children's Service in Jersey and the Children's Service in Guernsey. Although a reciprocal arrangement still exists between Jersey and Guernsey, more recently, Jersey children are increasingly placed for adoption in Jersey.
  • -In some cases a couple or single person adopts a child who is known to them, due to unforeseen circumstances, for example, death of the parent.
  • - A 'step parent adoption' is an adoption where a married couple adopt the mother's or father's own child born during a previous relationship. In these cases agreement has to be sought from the other birth father or mother, unless there are grounds for the agreement to be dispensed with.
  • - Intercountry or overseas adoption is adoption of a child, whose permanent home is outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fostering Adoption

Becoming an adopter

Each year Jersey admits approx 40 children and young people into the care system, many of whom return to their families, however some don't and it may be that they will be considered for adoption.

Adoption can be complicated and demanding and therefore we prefer to consider people who are over 25 years old. Married couples and single carers may apply to adopt. Unmarried couples cannot at this time apply to adopt jointly, however, one partner may submit an application supported by the other. This also applies to gay and lesbian applicants. Families who already have birth children can adopt, however, there should be at least 2 years, or preferably more, between the age of the birth child and the age of the child they wish to adopt.

Carers often apply to adopt when they have been unable to have a child naturally and when fertility treatment has failed. We would ask that applicants have completed all investigations and treatment prior to making an application to adopt.

As the decision to adopt is a very important one, every potential adopter will have to go through a process of preparation and assessment before being approved to adopt a child. This is a time-consuming and demanding process, but it is crucial for the applicants and the children they may go on to adopt that they have been properly prepared and a thorough assessment is made.

For further information on fostering and adoption see:

www.gov.je/Caring/Children/FosteringAdoption/Pages/index.aspx

If you are interested in adoption you can contact the Fostering and Adoption Team on 445273 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Access to records

For more information on access to birth records for adopted persons living in Jersey and their birth parents see

www.gov.je/Caring/Children/FosteringAdoption/Pages/AccessRecords.aspx