Birth Family Contact
During care proceedings, the social worker will have recommended a plan for the type and frequency of contact between a child and their birth family. The two main types of contact are:
Indirect contact – this is often in the form of a letter that is sent from the adopters (and child) to a specific member of the birth family and another letter that is sent back. All letters are sent via the Local Authority so that confidentiality is maintained.
Direct contact – this means the adopted child meeting up with a specific member of the birth family. More often this is with a sibling, and occasionally with a parent. This is often supervised and carefully supported.
In most cases adopters will be asked to enter into a voluntary agreement with the birth parents, which outlines the contact everyone will commit to. Throughout childhood the Local Authority which placed the child will remain responsible for supporting contact.
If anyone involved feels that changes are needed, they can contact the Local Authority and ask for the contact plan to be reviewed. Once a child is adopted, the adoptive parents have parental responsibility and so are solely responsible for making decisions in the child’s best interests.
Occasionally and only in particular circumstances, a Court Order may have been made which means that the Court specifies the contact plan. If this happens and the adoptive parents want changes to contact they will need to go to Court and may require legal representation.