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8.2 Step Parent and Non Agency Adoption

In August 2021, this chapter was added to the manual.


  1. Policy
  2. Relevant Legislation and Guidance
  3. Criteria for Adoption Applications on the Isle of Man
  4. Initial Enquires
  5. Notification to Adopt
  6. Adoption Hearing
  7. After the Court Process

    Appendix A: Process Map for Assessment Process

1. Policy

The Family Placement Service will undertake assessments on behalf of the Court in respect of private applications that relate to Step-Parent Adoption and private adoption (where neither child nor applicant is known to the Department).

The investigation and report will commence upon receipt of formal notification to the Department from the applicant(s) or their legal representative.

In addition, information, advice and counselling will be provided to any person(s) who wish to make a private adoption application.

2. Relevant Legislation and Guidance

  • Isle of Man Adoption Act 1984;
  • Isle of Man Adoption Societies Regulations 1985;
  • Adoption Amendment Act 2011;
  • Adoption Rules 2003;
  • Children and Young Persons Act 2001.

3. Criteria for Adoption Applications on the Isle of Man

Adoption Act 1984


4. Initial Enquires

Applicant(s) can make enquires to the Family Placement Service (FPS) by telephone or email and a duty supervising social worker will provide information as required. The sharing of information can either be;

  • Through a face to face appointment at convenient time for the applicant(s);
  • Information leaflet;
  • General information over the telephone.

All enquires are responded to within two working days.

5. Notification to Adopt

The applicant/s must legally formally notify the Department that they will be applying for an adoption order in writing at least 3 months prior to making of an application to the court.

The letter will need to confirm the child’s name, date of birth, the applicants’ full names, address and telephone numbers.

The Adoption Practice Lead will allocate a supervising social worker, within 5 working days, to undertake the investigation and assessment and report to the court, as directed

Process of Assessment

Once the department has received the formal notification, the supervising social worker undertaking the assessment for the court will make contact with the applicant(s). Applicants will be asked to give written consent for the preliminary stages for the assessment required by court to begin. Please see Adoption Rules 2003, Schedule 3 8(a) and 5 4(b).

The process map can be found in Appendix A: Process Map for Assessment Process.

Informed and specific consent will be asked for the following:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS);
  • Medicals (This is best practice to undertake, but is not a legal requirement);
  • Department checks and relevant local authority checks in other jurisdictions;
  • Welfare of children of the applicants which will include Education and Health establishments;
  • Absent birth parent check (step parent/intra familial adoption);
  • Personal references x3;
  • References from any other household members;
  • Adult child references.

Once the application has been accepted by the Court, the department will be notified of the directions hearing and will receive a copy the Application

Upon receipt of the notification of directions hearing, the department is required to complete and submit a report to the court (known as the Schedule 3) within 12 weeks. (2) Where the child was not placed for adoption with the applicant by an adoption agency, the Department shall supply, within 6 weeks of receipt of the notice of hearing under rule 10, 3 copies of a report in writing covering the matters specified in Schedule 3.

The department will allocate a supervising social worker from the FPS to compile the report.

The report is a full assessment that will cover the following areas:

  • The Child;
  • Each natural parent, including where appropriate, the father of an illegitimate child;
  • Guardians;
  • Prospective Adopters;
  • Actions of the Department supplying the report;
  • Conclusions & Recommendations.

Key Points that the Court will want to know

  • It is important that applicants ensure that the child/young person, who is subject of the application, is aware that the application has been made (subject to age) and their views known;
  • The views and wishes of every adult/parent that has parental responsibility for the child / young person;
  • The views and wishes of the absent birth parent if they do not have parental responsibility;
  • The advantages and disadvantages of every legal remedy available to the court.

The completed Schedule report must be verbally shared with the applicants for them to verify any areas of factual inaccuracy and to comment upon.

The report should include their agreement or opposition to the department’s conclusion and recommendations.

The report will then be quality assured and authorised by the adoption Lead/team leader and submitted to the court.

Approval of the Schedule 3 before submission to the court

Stage 1: The draft report should be quality assured by the adoption practice lead/Team Leader before sharing with the applicants to receive their feedback

Stage 2: The supervising social worker who has completed the assessment will share the document with the applicants in person and make any required factual amendments and include the opinions of the applicants on any matters within the assessment that dispute the professional opinion.

Stage 3: The final report should be signed by the supervising social worker, the applicants and finally quality assured and verified by the adoption specialist lead/Team leader.

Stage 4: The final signed report and 3 additional copies will be submitted by the department (in person) to the court and a receipt obtained.


The court will determine through directions hearing the timings for submission and hearings. The department ordinarily will have 12 weeks to complete the report and should honour this timescale in all cases.

In exceptional circumstance where the department cannot meet the submission date, representation in writing shall be made no later than 8 weeks into the process by the adoption specialist lead/team leader.

6. Adoption Hearing

The supervising social worker responsible for preparing the report should attend the adoption hearing. A worker that has never attended court before should always be accompanied by a manager and always in circumstance where there are known areas of controversy.

Outcome of the Court

The court will be responsible for informing all relevant parties of the outcome.

7. After the Court Process

Once the adoption proceedings are complete, the supervising social worker should complete the child's Adoption Case Record and arrange for its safe storage in the Adoption Archives.

The supervising social worker will advise the family of the availability of post adoption support and how to access that if required.

Appendix A: Process Map for Assessment Process

Click here to view Appendix A: Process Map for Assessment Process

Original Publication Date March 2021
Last Review Date New policy
Next Review Date March 2022