Clause 41 - Child to live with adopters before application

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 29 November 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health 2:45, 29 November 2001

I welcome you back to the Chair, Mrs. Roe. This morning's debate was constructive. We now move on to the part of the Bill that deals with the preliminaries to, and the process of, making adoption orders.

Clause 41 sets out the various residence periods—times during which a child has to have lived with the prospective adopters before an application for an adoption order can be made. It is worth pointing out that the provisions are different to those in the Adoption Act 1976. In that Act, the various periods related to the time before an adoption order was made; in the Bill, they refer to the time before the application. We believe that that is an important improvement.

Opposition Members made much of the point that we need to deliver simplicity and consistency. I disagree about the significance of simplicity or complexity; such considerations are not always paramount. As I hope to explain, it is not necessarily in the best interests of children in various circumstances that everything should be the same. One size does not necessarily fit all when talking about the complicated, difficult and serious circumstances of adoption.