Adoption in Jersey
Updated 15 January 2020
Words you may need to know
Safeguard – make sure something is safe and is not harmed
Transfers – to move across; go from one side to the other
Assess – to consider and decide upon something eg suitability for a job; amount of a tax
Permanent – when something is intended to last for a long time
Applicant – someone who is applying (asking) for a position, here to be an adoptive parent
Birth parent – biological parents
Formal – here, official or required as part of a process
Investigate – to look into, make enquiries
Legal process - when something has to be done in accordance with rules made by law
Notification- to give notice or tell someone about something
Discriminated- treated differently
Prospective adopter - someone who wants to adopt a child
The Children's Service and it's involvement
The Children's Service provides services to promote, safeguard and improve the well-being of children and their families in Jersey.
One of the things it does is to act as the Island's Adoption Agency. This includes:
- counselling expectant mothers considering adoption for their child;
- assessing couples wishing to adopt (‘prospective adopters’);
- placing children for adoption;
- general advice on anything to do with adoption.
What is adoption?
Adoption in Jersey is regulated by the Adoption (Jersey) Law, 1961, as amended.
Adoption provides a permanent new family for children who can’t be with their own parents. It's a legal procedure which transfers all the parent's responsibilities to the adoptive parent/s.
The adopted child becomes a new member of the adoptive family and they receive the same rights as if they were born into that family. The birth parents of the child lose all rights or responsibilities for the child.
If it is in the child's best interest, some adopted children keep in contact (usually through the Letter Box Service run by the Children's Service) with some of their birth family. This is usually arranged and agreed during the adoption process, however keeping the child safe and happy is the first priority.
Once an adoption order is made it can’t be changed back, except in very rare circumstances.
Becoming an adopter (adoptive parent)
At any one time Jersey has roughly between 80 and 90 children and young people in the care system. Many of the children who initially come into care will go back to their families but some don't and they may then be considered for adoption.
You can adopt if you are:
· 25 or over (unless adopting a relative)
· in a civil partnership
· a parent already (either through birth or earlier adoption)
· an unmarried couple in a long relationship (you can apply to adopt together)
You will not be discriminated against on the grounds of:
· if you are, or are not married
· how much you earn
· whether you own your own home
· whether you have children or not
· your sexuality
· your religion
· your ethnic origin
· any disability
Applicants who are thinking about adopting will need to take part in a thorough training and assessment programme, which looks at their suitability to adopt. The process usually takes 6 – 8 months to complete.
For more detail about the assessment process see:
If a prospective adopter/s are approved at the end of the assessment process they will need to wait to be matched with a child. It is not possible to say how long this might take.
Once a child is matched with a prospective adopter/s and goes to live with them they must make a formal notification to the Children's Service and the Court to say they want to apply for an adoption order. The child must live with them for at least 13 weeks from the date of the notification before the order can be made.
When the prospective adopter/s are ready to apply, they need to make an appointment with the Registrar, Family Division. The Registrar will explain how to make the application to the Court.
‘Guardian ad litem’
Whenever somebody makes an adoption application in Jersey, the Court appoints a 'guardian ad litem.' The 'guardian ad litem' (or Jersey Family Court Advisory Service ‘JFCAS’) has to write a report which will recommend, or not, that an adoption order be made. When they do this they have to think about what is best for the child.
To help write the report JFCAS will ask the prospective adopter/s for two referees and for permission to speak to the child who is to be adopted, other family members and people like teachers and health workers. It may also be necessary to show that documents that do not come from Jersey or the UK are genuine.
It usually takes the 'guardian ad litem' a minimum of three months from receiving an application to carry out all their checks and make their recommendation so it will take that time before the order can be made.
For more information about JFCAS see:
Making an Adoption Order
The Royal Court sits ‘in Chambers’ on Friday mornings to hear adoption applications where no-one is objecting to the application. The prospective adopter/s adopting the child and the child must attend the hearing and can bring a few people with them, either family or friends but numbers are limited due to space.
The cost of getting an adoption order is paid for by getting special stamps known as ‘Court Stamps’ from Customer and Local Services, Phillip Le Feuvre House, La Motte Street, St Helier, Jersey, JE4 8PE. Once an adoption order has been made the adoptive parent/s can get their adoption certificate from the office of the Superintendent Registrar, 10 Royal Square, St. Helier.
The following types of adoption happen in Jersey:
- A couple or single person adopts a child that they did not know before. It is most likely that this child has been living with foster carers waiting for an adoptive placement.
- In some cases a couple or a single person adopts a child who is known to them, due to circumstances that were not expected to happen, for example, death of the parent.
- ‘Intercountry’ or overseas adoption is the adoption of a child, whose permanent home is outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
- 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 parent before the adoption can be recommended. It is necessary for the couple to prove what attempts have been made to find the other birth parent. A lawyer may be needed to help.
If the child does not know that it is not the natural child of the couple who want to apply for the adoption order, and the couple do not want the child to know, JFCAS cannot recommend the adoption.
For further information on fostering and adoption see:
If you are interested in adoption you can contact the Fostering and Adoption Team :
Children's Service, Liberte House, 19-23 La Motte Street, St Helier, Jersey, JE2 4SY
Access to records
For more information on access to birth records for adopted persons living in Jersey and their birth parents please contact the fostering and adoption team
Birth details, availability 8.30.55.L4