Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007

An Act of the Scottish Parliament to restate and amend the law relating to adoption; to make other provision in relation to the care of children; to enable provision to be made in relation to allowances in respect of certain children; and for connected purposes.

The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 modernises, improves and extends the system of adoption in Scotland. Previous legislation relating to adoption lay mainly in the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 (which was based on the Adoption Act 1976).

Previous legislation relating to other aspects of adoption is contained in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the “1995 Act”). Legislation relating to intercountry and overseas adoption lies in the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999.

The Act repeals and replaces the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978, apart from Part IV, which makes provision in respect of the status of children adopted under that Act. Part IV remains in force in order to ensure that the status of such children is unaffected by the repeal of that Act and its replacement by the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007. The Act also amends the 1995 Act.

The Act maintains the existing adoption service and local authorities continue to have a duty to provide an adoption service for placing children with adopters and assessing adopters. A wider range of people are able to adopt. Provisions modernise and improve the existing service and the broader services available to children who cannot live with their original families. The Act introduces a new court order for accommodating such children (a “permanence order”). Provisions in the Act improve access to a broader range of support services for people affected by adoption, including members of adoptive and original families. The Act contains provisions to ensure that people are able to gain access to services and will be given clear information about the services that will be provided to them by adoption agencies. The Act reproduces existing provisions for intercountry and overseas adoptions, but introduces new restrictions on bringing children into the country in certain circumstances and gives the Scottish Ministers the power to charge for the processing of intercountry adoption casework.




Reference: In the APA referencing system, Acts of Parliament do not need including in the reference list. On the first mention of the Act, a full citation is given in the text (ie. the name of the Act with date)




The key provisions of the Act are:

  • Unmarried couples are able to adopt jointly.

  • Local authorities have a duty to provide a range of adoption services, the meaning of which may be expanded by secondary legislation.

  • People directly affected by an adoption (including the child, parents and adoptive parents) have a right to adoption support services, which include both services provided before an adoption order is made and after the making of the order.

  • The provision of adoption services is a clearly stated part of the adoption process, which will inform people about the services that are available to them, how they should go about accessing them, and for how long these services are available.

  • A new type of order, the permanence order, is introduced for children who cannot live with their families.  This replaces freeing orders (provided for by section 18 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978) and parental responsibilities orders (provided for by section 86 of the 1995 Act).  The permanence order allows parental responsibilities and parental rights relating to residence and guidance to pass to the local authority and other relevant parental responsibilities and parental rights to be granted to appropriate people, including the child’s parents.  The permanence order provides flexibility to adapt to a child’s changing circumstances.




Acts of parliament are continuously updated (revised) to reflect any amendments that subsequent acts make on the original. The pdf we reproduce here is the original, without amendments, it is the act, as first printed. The following link is the latest revised version;


Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 - Latest revised version



Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.

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