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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Section 53: Modification of 1989 Act in relation to adoption

153.Under the Act a child who is authorised to be placed for adoption by a local authority is looked after by the authority whether or not he is actually placed for adoption. The intention in extending the ‘looked after’ status to children where there is authorisation to place for adoption is to ensure that it is clear that the local authority are to have a continuing responsibility for managing and overseeing the child’s future until an adoption order is made, and regularly reviewing their progress. This also applies to a child who has been placed for adoption and is less than 6 weeks old.

154.However, in order to reflect the particular circumstances of placement for adoption, certain provisions in the Children Act 1989 will need to be disapplied where a local authority are authorised to place a child for adoption, whether or not the child is placed. For example in relation to section 22(4)(b), (c) and (d) and (5)(b), it may not be appropriate for an authority to be under a duty to consult the child’s parent or other relatives before taking any decision with respect to the child.  This will need to be considered on a case by case basis.  Similarly, where a child is placed for adoption with prospective adopters, the authority are to be under an obligation to ascertain and take the views of the prospective adopters with whom the child is placed before making a decision with respect to that child.

155.The regulations may also provide for paragraph 15 of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 to be disapplied.  That paragraph provides that a local authority looking after a child must endeavour to promote contact between the child and his parent unless it is not reasonably practicable or consistent with the child’s welfare.  This duty is not to apply where a local authority are authorised to place a child for adoption. Guidance will be given to local authorities to deal with the issue of contact on a case by case basis and the new provisions in sections 26 and 27 will enable a parent, for example, to make an application for contact with his child.

156.Section 53(3) makes similar provision to disapply the specified sections of the Children Act 1989 where a registered adoption society is authorised to place a child for adoption or has placed a child for adoption who is less than 6 weeks old.

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