Edward Timpson, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, has laid two draft clauses before Parliament for pre-legislative scrutiny by the Select Committee on Adoption Legislation. This fulfils commitments to bring forward legislation made in An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay and in the Queen’s Speech.

The draft clauses, which would apply in England only:

  • place a duty on local authorities to give preference to a “Fostering for Adoption” placement if they are satisfied that such a placement is in the child’s best interests and is the most appropriate placement available for that child.
  • remove the express duty in section 1(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 on adoption agencies to give due consideration to religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background, when matching children with prospective adopters. This change would reinforce the existing legislative emphasis on the welfare of the child and the impact of any delay.


The draft provisions and explanatory notes can be downloaded from the Parliamentary website.

View a copy of the Written Ministerial Statement on draft legislation for adoption.

The Select Committee has spent months considering a range of evidence from many organisations and individuals about existing adoption legislation and will present its views on these draft clauses and existing legislation in due course.