Adoption and legal
responsibility for children


Whether you have chosen to grow your family through adoption or you are a relative or family friend of a child who needs care, we can advise you about your legal rights and any financial support you may be entitled to from the Local Authority.

We regularly help clients who are caring for children in many different circumstances in which they are not the biological parent. Adoption is not the only route to providing legal permanency for a child you are seeking to or already look after. Explore your options below.



When you apply to adopt a child, the court can make an adoption order which means that you take on all the legal rights that are given to a child’s birth parents and the legal rights of the birth parents are extinguished permanently.

Adoptions do regularly take place within families, but the stronger the family connection between the birth parent and the potential adopter, the more likely the court will prefer an alternative placement option.

The Local Authority may offer some limited funding to adopters and we can explore this as part of the legal process.

Special Guardianship

A special guardianship order gives you the right to make all day to day decisions about a child’s upbringing. Unlike adoption however, the birth parents remain legally the child’s parents and you will have to consult them when making major decisions about the child’s life and the court can order that the birth parents are allowed a certain amount of contact with their child.

In the event there is a dispute about where the child should live, this order can determine that the child should live with its special guardian.

The Local Authority is obliged to provide financial support to special guardians and we can negotiate the level of support with the Local Authority as part of our service.

Residence Order

This type of order determines that the child should live with you and allows you to make day to day decisions about the child’s care. However, under a residence order, the birth parents are entitled to challenge any type of decision you make and this type of order is only appropriate when you and the birth parents broadly agree about what is in the child’s best interests.

Limited financial support from the Local Authority may be available and we can discuss this during the legal process.

Urgent advice if proceedings are underway

If legal proceedings concerning a child’s future are already underway you may need to act quickly. We offer a 2 hour advice session to explore your legal options and the prospect of securing financial support from the Local Authority. In certain circumstances where you are not entitled to legal aid, the Local Authority may be willing to fund your legal advice.

Miles & Partners regularly assists clients sympathetically through every stage of the legal process in becoming a carer for a child. Contact us for further advice or help with any aspect of taking legal responsibility for a child.