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Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future

Alternatives to adoption

Formalising your relationship

Adoption is not the only way to formalise your relationship with the child you are caring for. You will need to think carefully about what might be best for the child.

If you are a step-parent, for example, you could:

  • Apply for a residence order

  • Change the child’s name legally

  • Apply to the court for parental responsibility

  • Become a legal guardian to the child.

If you are relative of the child or caring for a child who is not related to you, you could:

  • Apply for a residence order

  • Apply to become a special guardian

  • Become a legal guardian to the child.


Further information about these alternatives to adoption is available in the leaflets 'You and Your Step-Family' [PDF] which you can download here and 'Part of the Family' which you can get requested from your local fostering team that covers the area you live in. You can also discuss your options more fully with a social worker from fostering.

Fostering Team (Ashfield) 01623 433433

Fostering Team (Bassetlaw) 01777 716161

Fostering Team (Mansfield) 01623 433433

Fostering Team (Newark) 01623 520520

Fostering Team (South Notts) 0115 8546000

If you prefer to receive the leaflet You and Your Step-family as a hard copy, you need to contact your local fostering team to request this.

Keeping the birth parents informed

Whichever option you decide upon, you will need to let the child’s birth parent/s know of your plans. They have a basic right to be consulted and have their views considered.

Above all you need to talk to the child and explain what you want to do and why. Simple explanations and an open approach to the subject will benefit everyone.

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