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29. (1) While an application for an adoption order in respect of a child made by the person with whom the child has had his home for the 5 years preceding the application is pending, no person is entitled, against the will of the applicant, to remove the child from the applicant's[F1 home] except with the leave of the court or under authority conferred by any enactment or on the arrest of the child.
(2) Where a person ( “the prospective adopter”) gives notice to the Board[F2 or [F3HSC trust]] within whose area he has his home that he intends to apply for an adoption order in respect of a child who for the preceding 5 years has had his home with the prospective adopter, no person is entitled, against the will of the prospective adopter, to remove the child from the prospective adopter's[F1 home], except with the leave of a court or under authority conferred by any enactment or on the arrest of the child, before—
(a)the prospective adopter applies for the adoption order, or
whichever occurs first.
[F1(2A) In paragraphs (1) and (2) “any enactment” does not include Article 22(2) of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.]
[F1(3) In any case where paragraph (1) or (2) applies and—
(a)the child was being looked after by a Board or [F3HSC trust] before he began to have his home with the applicant or, as the case may be, the prospective adopter, and
(b)the child is still being looked after by the Board or [F3HSC trust],
the Board or [F3HSC trust] shall not remove him from the home of the applicant or the prospective adopter except in accordance with Article 31 or 32 or with the leave of a court.]
(4) In paragraphs (2) and (3) “a court” means a court with jurisdiction to make adoption orders.
(5) A Board which receives such notice as is mentioned in paragraph (2)in respect of a child whom the Board knows to be[F1 looked after by another Board or an [F3HSC trust] or to be provided with accommodation by a voluntary organisation] shall, not more than 7 days after the receipt of the notice, inform that other Board or[F4 the [F3HSC trust] or] the organisation, in writing, that it has received the notice.
[F2(5A) An [F3HSC trust] which receives such notice as is mentioned in paragraph (2) in respect of a child whom the [F3HSC trust] knows to be[F1 looked after by another [F3HSC trust] or a Board or to be provided with accommodation by a voluntary organisation] shall, not more than 7 days after the receipt of the notice, inform that other [F3HSC trust] or that Board or organisation, in writing, that it has received the notice.]
(6) Paragraph (2) does not apply to any further notice served by the prospective adopter on any Board[F4 or [F3HSC trust]] in respect of the same child during the period referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of that paragraph or within 28 days after its expiry.
(7) Any person who contravenes paragraph (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(8) The Department may by order made subject to affirmative resolution amend paragraph (1) or (2) to substitute for the period of 5 years mentioned in that paragraph such other period as may be specified in the order.
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