Clause 19 - Advance consent to adoption

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 29 November 2001.

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Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon 10:15, 29 November 2001

I certainly support the amendment, although it could go a little further by making it clear that the written explanation should be given when consent is given. The person who is consenting clearly has a right to know the implications of what they are doing. One of the Bill's aims, which we all support, is to facilitate and speed up the adoption process. In certain cases, there could be a family incident, and even though a clear explanation is given at the time, the adopter could be left in a state of shock and consternation. After a discussion, the social worker might decide that adoption is the right course of action. It is therefore more important than ever to establish safeguards such as those that have been proposed.

It is right that notice be given, but during the period in which consent can be withdrawn, will such a person have access to on-going advice? Will advice stop when consent is given? If the person concerned—who may have come out of a vulnerable situation and is a bit more clear-thinking after the consent date—wanted advice, would she or he have to take it from social workers, who may be interested in expediting the adoption, or would there perhaps be access to a voluntary agency? That should be made clear on the form, as proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham.