Section 1 - Duty of local authority to provide adoption service
21.Subsection (1) places a duty on local authorities to provide an adoption service or, to the extent that they already do so, continue to do so. In practice it is likely that all local authorities will provide their own adoption services, but they may contract with another provider which is a registered adoption service to provide these services, as set out at section 2(2).
22.For the purposes of this Act, ‘adoption service’ is defined as services designed to meet the needs in relation to adoption of the persons mentioned in section 1(3).
23.These persons, listed in subsection (3), are: (a) children who may be adopted (for the purposes of providing adoption support, this includes children who have been placed for adoption); (b) persons who have been adopted (this category includes adults who were adopted as children, as well as children who have been adopted); (c) parents and guardians of children who may be adopted (for the purposes of providing adoption support, this includes children who have been placed for adoption); (d) natural parents of persons who have been adopted; (e) persons who, before the placing of a child for adoption or the adoption of a child, treated the child as their child; (f) siblings (whether of the whole-blood or half-blood), natural grandparents and former guardians of children who may be adopted and persons who have been adopted; (g) persons who may adopt a child; (h) persons who have adopted a child; (i) in relation to persons mentioned in (g) or (h), children of, or children treated as children of, such persons (this includes children of the family of adoptive parents); and (j) any other persons who are affected by the placing, proposed placing or adoption of a child.
24.By virtue of subsection (4), an adoption service includes or consists of arrangements for assessing children who may be adopted; arrangements for assessing prospective adopters; arrangements for placing children for adoption; the provision of information about adoption to any of the persons mentioned in section 1(3); and adoption support services.
25.Subsection (5) defines adoption support services as consisting of or including counselling to any of the persons mentioned in section 1(3); guidance about adoption to such persons; and any other assistance in relation to the adoption process that the local authority providing an adoption service in a particular case considers relevant to that case.