GAY couples can now adopt children in the Isle of Man following the implantation of the Civil Partnership Act.
Previously adoption was restricted to married couples or to single adopters.
Catriona Morris, manager of the Isle of Man Adoption Service (IOMAS) said: "This amendment to the Adoption Act should be a real positive for those children – both Manx and from elsewhere in the British Isles - who need a permanent family by way of adoption.
"Previously if a couple wished to adopt a child and were not married, only one of the couple could adopt.
"The amendment allows those couples who have been together for some time but who have not chosen to marry, and same sex couples - whether in a civil partnership or long term relationship, to be considered as future adoptive parents.
"If approved and a child placed in their care, they can apply together to be joint parents legally for that child.
"I hope this will encourage more families on the Island to think positively about providing a lifelong home for a child who for many reasons can no longer live with their original family."
The Isle of Man Adoption Service is encouraging those who wish to learn more about this change to contact the agency on 01624 625161 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparation groups for those interested in adoption will be held in early May. A drop-in information evening is being held on May 18 from 6pm until 9pm at Centre 21, Greenfield Road, Douglas. The Isle of Man Adoption Service is particularly keen to find families or single people who may be interested in adopting children aged six or over, or sibling groups.