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In the sad circumstances in which the relationship between a child and an adoptive parent is considered to have broken down, the adoptive parent continues to have parental responsibilities and rights in relation to the child, in the same way that a birth parent with parental responsibilities and rights does if the parent-child relationship breaks down.
It is important that there is a person with parental responsibilities and rights for a child. If a child’s relationship with their adoptive parents has broken down, a court can already consider an application to remove parental responsibilities and rights and transfer them to another individual, if that is considered to be in the best interests of the child. Parental responsibilities and rights for adoptive and birth parents last only until the child is 18.
Two of my constituents, Anthony and Joseph Duncalf, have started a petition to allow adopted children to have the same rights of emancipation from their adoptive parents as those of children from their biological parents, which they might want to exercise for a number of reasons.
As I said, adoptive parents have full parental responsibilities and rights for their children in the same way that birth parents usually do. In that sense, whether a child is adopted makes no difference to their ability to sever links with their parents.
I am more than happy to meet Emma Harper and
Anthony and Joseph Duncalf to discuss the challenges that they have faced and to see whether there is anything that we can do to respond to those challenges.