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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Over twenty-five years experience
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In England what is the law regarding the contact rights for

Resolved Question:

In England what is the law regarding the contact rights for the biological grandparents of a child adopted by a stranger?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.
Can you provide some more information please
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

We are the grandparents of a 4 year old little boy who was taken into care 6 weeks ago. We have been told that he will be adopted by someone outside of the family. As we have had a lot of input into his upbringing and we still have a lot of contact with him even though he is in foster care which is Thursdays 9.00pm till 7.00pm and Saturdays 8.00pm till 7.00pm so we can continue to maintain activities ie dancing and swimming lessons we do together.We would like to know if we have legal rights to see our grandson on a regular basis when he is adopted. What is the law regarding this in England at the moment please?

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.
Firstly if he was taken into care 6 weeks ago and you think that you can care for him then the LA will need to assess you are potential carers. If the Court make the decision to make an adoption order then the usual order is really only letter box contact (a letter yearly) - you can ask to see the child periodically (again usually yearly at best) but this will ultimately be at the discretion of the adopters. In reality the court can't make them agree. The key would be to ensure that you are part of this legal process and if necessary get a solicitor to guarantee that the LA are assessing you correctly. Please remember to rate positively.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. We were assessed last week as potential full time carers and shall be discussing the social workers report this Friday.

Due to our grandsons age we have been told he will be adopted very quickly should neither his individual parents or ourselves are considered suitable full time carers. Both his parents are drug addicts and I am very concerned for him and believe that losing us in his life is an additional trauma he will endure. It seems harsh to be putting us in this 'all or nothing' situation regarding his well being and care. We wondered if there was perhaps another way/solution that has not yet been put to us?

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.
Realistically unless there are other family members, a LA is going to look to place a 4 year old child for adoption I am afraid. There is also case law which supports that position. The law makes the LA look to family members (i.e. yourselves) - if the outcome of the assessment of you by the LA is suspect then you would need to challenge the decision immediately. These cases are usually resolved from start to finish within 26 weeks. They do not look at long term foster care for this age.Please remember to rate positively
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you as you have confirmed what we have been told but we had hoped there was some way it may be possible to have regular contact with our grandson should he be adopted by a 'stranger'.

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.
I am afraid only with the agreement of the adopters (although in what are being called open adoptions this is becoming more common) but there are sadly no guarantees. I hope the assessment goes well. Please remember to rate positively.
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