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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Section 30: General prohibitions on removal

103.Section 30 imposes general restrictions on removal. Section 30 is subject to sections 31, 32 and 33. Under subsection (1)(a) where a child is placed with prospective adopters under section 19 it is an offence for a person other than the agency to remove the child from that placement (subsections (1) and (8)). Under subsection (1)(b) where a child is placed for adoption and either is less than 6 weeks old or the agency has at no time been authorised to place the child for adoption, the same offence applies. This ensures that where a child is placed with the mother’s consent while under 6 weeks of age but the agency is later unable to secure the mother’s consent under section 19 the restrictions on removal would continue to apply to the placement.

104.Subsection (1) applies even if the parent has withdrawn his consent to placement. However, under section 31where a parent withdraws his consent to placement the agency must return the child within 7 days if the child has not yet been placed for adoption under section 19 with prospective adopters or the child is placed and either the child is less than 6 weeks old or the agency has at no time been authorised to place the child for adoption.  Under section 32 where a parent withdraws his consent to placement the prospective adopter must return the child to the agency within 14 days if the child has been placed under section 19 with prospective adopters, unless an application is or has been made for a placement order. If no application for a placement order has been made within seven or 14 days the agency must return the child to the parent, unless the child is subject to a care order.

105.If a child is accommodated by a local authority and they have applied for a placement order and the application has not been disposed of, the child may not be removed from the accommodation pending the determination of that application without the leave of the court (section 30(2) and (8)). Where an agency is authorised to place a child for adoption but the child is not yet placed and is being provided with accommodation by an agency in, for example, a foster placement or a children’s home, it is an offence for a person other than the agency to remove the child from that accommodation (subsections (3) and (8)). Subsection (3) applies if the parent has withdrawn his consent to placement.

106.The general prohibitions on removal set out in this section are subject to the specific provisions made in sections 31 to 33 (subsection (4)).  But the provisions in sections 30 to 33 covering prohibition on removal do not prevent the removal of a child who is arrested, or removal as a result of the exercise by a local authority or other person of a power conferred by any enactment (excluding the right under section 20(8) of the Children Act 1989 of a person who has parental responsibility for a child to remove a child voluntarily accommodated by a local authority (subsections (6) and (7)).  Sections 31 to 33 do not apply if the child is subject to a care order (subsection (4)).

107.Subsection (8) provides that a person who removes the child in breach of subsection (1), (2) or (3) is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

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