Changes from the Earlier Bill

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

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—stronger measures to stop people wishing to adopt from overseas from avoiding the proper assessment and approval procedures, plus tougher penalties if they attempt to get around the safeguards. The measures extend to include children who have been adopted overseas.

—more improvements to adoption support services, available to a wider group of people, including birth parents, with a new registration system to ensure quality

—changes to the placement order provisions to ensure the Bill is closely aligned with the Children Act

—opening adoption support services up to a wider range of providers, who don't have to be adoption agencies

—a new more consistent approach on access to information held in adoption agency records to ensure that the release of this sensitive information about adopted people and birth families takes account of their views wherever possible.

—a duty for local councils to make adoption support services available for special guardians

Other key provisions in the Bill include:

—changing the law to ensure the needs of children are at the heart of the adoption process

—giving all adoptive families a new right to an assessment for adoption support

—placing a clear duty on local authorities in England and Wales to maintain an adoption support service

—establishing a new independent review mechanism for prospective adopters who feel they have been turned down unfairly

—legally underpinning the new Adoption Register for England and Wales to enable faster matches

—allowing courts to set timetables to cut delays in adoption court cases.

—introducing a more straightforward process for step-parents to acquire parental responsibility either through courts or with consent

—introducing a new special guardianship order to provide security and permanence for children where adoption is not suitable

—providing adopted people with consistent access to information about the background to their adoption