9. Consistency with the Children Act 1989

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 20 November 2001.

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One of the objectives of this legislation, which we thoroughly applaud, is to bring adoption law into line with the Children Act 1989. Unfortunately, however, the Bill as currently drafted would leave some glaring inconsistencies with the Children Act framework. In particular these relate to the distortion of the Children Act framework covering children accommodated by the local authority under voluntary arrangements. Unlike the Children Act the provisions in the Bill:

—vest parental responsibility in the local authority or adoption agency without any court order

—vest parental responsibility in prospective adopters on placement without a court order

—place severe restrictions on the right of the parent to remove the child from accommodation—even if the child has not yet been placed for adoption

—authorise the local authority to retain a child against the parents' wishes if the local authority intends to apply for a placement order (whereas in similar circumstances under the Children Act the local authority would be required to apply for an emergency protection order).

There is also inconsistency in the provisions governing applications by foster carers for adoption orders and applications by foster carers for residence or special guardianship orders and this should be resolved.

A paper setting these points out in more detail is attached at annex 3.

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