The Adoption And Children Act 2002 received royal assent and became law on November 7th 2002, although it didn’t come fully into effect until the end of December 2005.
The Act was introduced in a staged manner, hence the delay between enactment and full implementation:
*Local Authorities duties to provide adoption service and support services.
*Inter country adoptions legislation
*Further adoption Support services
*Changes to Parental Responsibility
*Changes to adopted Children’s Register
The provisions were made to overhaul the framework introduced in the Adoption Act 1976 and to more specifically cater for the needs of the child. It also changed the provisions to allow for the adoption of children by a wider section of society.
The original Act only allowed adoption by Married couples or by one of the parents when the other was deceased or had very good reason to be excluded from their parental duties. [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1976/36/section/14]
The difference introduced in the new Act is that the references which said married couple and specifically referring to husband and wife now instead refer only to a couple. The effect of this change meant that adoptions were opened up to same-sex couples. [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/38/pdfs/ukpga_20020038_en.pdf]