The Adoption and Children Bill, March 2001

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at on 20 November 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

11. The Adoption White Paper included a commitment to provide adopted people with consistency of access to information about their family history and their adoption. When the Adoption and Children Bill was published in March it included a new right for adopted people to have access to a standard package of background information from their adoption agency records when they reach the age of 18 about their former lives. In most cases, it is envisaged that adopted people will be able to obtain the information they need about their birth family. However, there might be circumstances where information identifies an individual against their wishes. The Bill was therefore drafted to provide for identifying information to be given if the individual's consent was forthcoming.

12. Where the information would identify an individual, for example birth parents, clause 49 of the Bill provided that such information could not be released by an adoption agency or the court without the consent of the individual concerned. In their evidence to the Select Committee several organisations expressed concern that there was no provision for the adoption agency to have discretion to override these objections.

13. However, clauses 63 and 64 mirrored section 51 in the Adoption Act 1976 in giving adopted people automatic access to their birth record, as described in paragraph 5.