University of Leicester
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Step-parent adoption: A socio-legal study.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:54 authored by J. M. (Judith M.) Masson
If a parent marries someone who is not the other natural parent of his child the couple may wish to adopt the child. Adoption makes the child a full member of the new family and destroys the legal relationship with his family of birth. In 1974, the Departmental Committee on the Adoption of Children (the Houghton Committee) recommended that adoption was not an appropriate way to re-organize relationships within step-families. Subsection 10(3) of the Children Act 1975 which was implemented on 26 November 1976 restricts step-parent adoption in cases where the child's natural parents have been divorced. Courts hearing such applications are required to dismiss them if the matter would be better dealt with by a joint custody order in favour of the parent and step-parent. This thesis presents the findings of a research project monitoring subs. 10(3) of the Children Act 1975. Part I gives the legal and social background to the research and describes the research project. Part II presents the findings of a study of all applications for adoption by parent and step-parent in 3 local authority areas between 1975 and 1978. There were 1733 applications from 1255 families. Part III gives the conclusions and recommendations drawn from the study.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Social Work

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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