The legislation in relation to Freeing Orders was repealed on 30 December 2005, when the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was implemented, and replaced by a new placement framework for adoption, including new provisions in relation to Placement Orders.
This means that no applications for Freeing Orders can now be made, but freeing applications made prior to 30 December 2005 will continue to be dealt with under the old law and where Freeing Orders are or have been made, they will continue to have effect under the old law.
A Freeing Order is a Court Order, which has been made in relation to a Looked After Child on the application of a local authority where the Court has agreed that adoption is in the best interests of the child and parental consent to adoption has been given or dispensed with by the Court. The Court has also to be satisfied that the child is placed or likely to be placed with prospective adopters. Where a child is freed for adoption, the Parental Responsibility of the birth parent ends and parental responsibility solely rests with the local authority in whose favour the Order has been made.
Where a child who has been freed for adoption has not been placed for adoption after 12 months from the date of the Freeing Order, the parent may apply for the discharge of the Order.
Where a child has been freed for adoption, the issue of parental consent to the adoption, having been dealt with by the Court when the Freeing Order was made, will not be reconsidered when an adoption application is made.