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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

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  1. Introductory Text

  2. PART 1 Adoption

    1. CHAPTER 1 Introductory

      1. 1.Considerations applying to the exercise of powers

    2. CHAPTER 2 The Adoption Service

      1. The Adoption Service

        1. 2.Basic definitions

        2. 3.Adoption authority

        3. 4.The Adoption Service

        4. 5.Assessments etc. for adoption support services

        5. 6.Adoption support services: duty to provide information

        6. 7.Arrangements on cancellation of registration

        7. 8.Inactive or defunct adoption societies, etc.

      2. Regulations

        1. 9.General power to regulate adoption agencies

        2. 10.Management, etc., of agencies

        3. 11.Fees

        4. 12.Independent review of qualifying determinations of adoption agencies

      3. Supplemental

        1. 13.Information concerning adoption

        2. 14.Inspection of premises, etc.

    3. CHAPTER 3 Placement for adoption and adoption orders

      1. Placement of children by adoption agency for adoption

        1. 15.Placement for adoption by agencies

        2. 16.Placing children with parental consent

        3. 17.Advance consent to adoption

        4. 18.Placement orders

        5. 19.Applications for placement orders

        6. 20.Varying placement orders

        7. 21.Revoking placement orders

        8. 22.Parental responsibility

        9. 23.Contact

        10. 24.Contact: supplementary

        11. 25.Further consequences of placement

        12. 26.Further consequences of placement orders

      2. Removal of children who are or may be placed by adoption agencies

        1. 27.General prohibitions on removal

        2. 28.Recovery by parent etc. where child not placed or is a baby

        3. 29.Recovery by parent etc. where child placed and consent withdrawn

        4. 30.Recovery by parent etc. where child placed and placement order refused

        5. 31.Placement orders: prohibition on removal

        6. 32.Return of child in other cases

      3. Removal of children in non-agency cases

        1. 33.Restrictions on removal

        2. 34.Applications for adoption

        3. 35.Authority foster parents

        4. 36.Partners of parents

        5. 37.Other non-agency cases

      4. Breach of restrictions on removal

        1. 38.Recovery orders

      5. Preliminaries to adoption

        1. 39.Child to live with adopters before application

        2. 40.Reports where child placed by agency

        3. 41.Notice of intention to adopt

        4. 42.Suitability of adopters

      6. The making of adoption orders

        1. 43.Adoption orders

        2. 44.Conditions for making adoption orders

        3. 45.Restrictions on making adoption orders

        4. 46.Applications for adoption

        5. 47.Adoption by couple

        6. 48.Adoption by one person

      7. Post-adoption contact

        1. 49.Post-adoption contact

        2. 50.Orders under section 49: supplementary

      8. Placement and adoption: general

        1. 51.Parental etc. consent

        2. 52.Modification of Children Order in relation to adoption

        3. 53.Disclosing information to prospective adopters

        4. 54.Revocation of adoptions on legitimation

      9. Disclosure of information about a person’s adoption

        1. 55.Information to be kept about a person’s adoption

        2. 56.Restrictions on disclosure of protected etc. information

        3. 57.Disclosure of other information

        4. 58.Offence

        5. 59.Disclosing information to adopted adult

        6. 60.Disclosing protected information about adults

        7. 61.Disclosing protected information about children

        8. 62.Counselling

        9. 63.Other provision to be made by regulations

        10. 64.Sections 55 to 64: interpretation

    4. CHAPTER 4 Status of adopted children

      1. 65.Meaning of adoption in Chapter 4

      2. 66.Status conferred by adoption

      3. 67.Adoptive relatives

      4. 68.Rules of interpretation for instruments concerning property

      5. 69.Dispositions depending on date of birth

      6. 70.Property devolving with peerages etc.

      7. 71.Protection of trustees and personal representatives

      8. 72.Meaning of disposition

      9. 73.Miscellaneous

      10. 74.Pensions

      11. 75.Insurance

    5. CHAPTER 5 Registers

      1. Adopted Children Register, etc.

        1. 76.Adopted Children Register

        2. 77.Searches and copies

        3. 78.Connections between the register and birth records

      2. Adoption Contact Register

        1. 79.Adoption Contact Register

        2. 80.Adoption Contact Register: supplementary

        3. 81.Interpretation

    6. CHAPTER 6 Adoptions with a foreign element

      1. Bringing children into and out of the United Kingdom

        1. 82.Restriction on bringing children in

        2. 83.Giving parental responsibility prior to adoption abroad

        3. 84.Restriction on taking children out

        4. 85.Power to modify sections 82 and 84

      2. Adoptions from abroad: special restrictions

        1. 86.Declaration of special restrictions on adoptions from abroad

        2. 87.Review

        3. 88.The special restrictions

        4. 89.Imposition of extra conditions in certain cases

      3. Overseas adoptions

        1. 90.Overseas adoptions

      4. Miscellaneous

        1. 91.Modification of section 66 for Hague Convention adoptions

        2. 92.Annulment etc. of overseas or Hague Convention adoptions

        3. 93.Section 92: supplementary

        4. 94.Overseas determinations and orders

        5. 95.Power to charge

    7. CHAPTER 7 Miscellaneous

      1. Restrictions

        1. 96.Restriction on arranging adoptions etc.

        2. 97.Offence of breaching restrictions under section 96

        3. 98.Restriction on reports

        4. 99.Prohibition of certain payments

        5. 100.Excepted payments

        6. 101.Sections 96 to 100: interpretation

      2. Information

        1. 102.Pre-commencement adoptions: information

      3. Proceedings

        1. 103.Proceedings for offences

        2. 104.Appeals

        3. 105.Privacy

      4. Children’s court guardians

        1. 106.Children’s court guardians

        2. 107.Right of access to adoption agency records

      5. Evidence

        1. 108.Evidence of consent

      6. Orders made in Great Britain, etc.

        1. 109.Effect of certain Scottish orders and provisions

        2. 110.Effect of certain orders made in England and Wales

        3. 111.Use of adoption records from Great Britain, etc.

        4. 112.Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

      7. General

        1. 113.Avoiding delay

        2. 114.Service of notices etc.

        3. 115.Jurisdiction of courts

  3. PART 2 Children order amendments

    1. 116.Definition of family proceedings

    2. 117.Article 8 orders: authority foster parents

    3. 118.Duration of residence orders

    4. 119.Special guardianship

    5. 120.Ascertainment of children’s wishes

    6. 121.Provision of services to children in need, etc.

    7. 122.Duty of authorities to promote etc. achievement, learning and development, and to prevent disruption to education or training

    8. 123.Corporate parenting principles

    9. 124.Placement of looked after children with prospective adopters

    10. 125.Accommodation for children: requirements

    11. 126.Authority foster parents

    12. 127.Duty to ensure visits to and advice etc. for children

    13. 128.Former relevant children: continuing functions

    14. 129.Local offer for care leavers

    15. 130.Inquiries into representations

    16. 131.Review of cases of looked after children

    17. 132.Independent advocacy services

    18. 133.Definition of harm

    19. 134.Care plans

    20. 135.Contact: children in care of authority

    21. 136.Persons authorised to act as children’s court guardian

    22. 137.Renaming of guardians ad litem

    23. 138.Interests of children in proceedings

    24. 139.Definition of privately fostered child

    25. 140.Welfare of children who will be privately fostered

    26. 141.Notification of fostering: public awareness

    27. 142.Privacy for children in proceedings

    28. 143.Report on the operation of the Children Order

  4. PART 3 Miscellaneous and supplementary

    1. Northern Ireland Adoption and Children Act Register

      1. 144.Northern Ireland Adoption and Children Act Register

      2. 145.Use of an organisation to establish the register

      3. 146.Use of an organisation as an agency for payments

      4. 147.Supply of information for the register

      5. 148.Disclosure of information

      6. 149.Search and inspection of the register by prospective adopters

      7. 150.Search and inspection of the register by adoption agencies

      8. 151.Supplementary

    2. Supplementary

      1. 152.Time limit within which proceedings may be brought

      2. 153.Research and investigations

      3. 154.Amendments, transitional and transitory provisions, savings and repeals

      4. 155.Regulations and orders

      5. 156.Rules of court

      6. 157.Supplementary and consequential provision

      7. 158.Review

      8. 159.Interpretation

      9. 160.Commencement

      10. 161.Short title


    1. SCHEDULE 1

      Registration of adoptions

      1. Registration of adoption orders

        1. 1.(1) Every adoption order must contain a direction to the...

      2. Registration of adoptions in Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

        1. 2.(1) Sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) apply where the Registrar General...

      3. Registration of other adoptions

        1. 3.(1) If the Registrar General is satisfied, on an application...

      4. Amendment of orders and rectification of Registers and other records

        1. 4.(1) The court by which an adoption order has been...

      5. Marking of entries on re-registration of birth on legitimation

        1. 5.(1) Without prejudice to paragraph 2(4) and paragraph 4(5), where,...

      6. Cancellations in registers on legitimation

        1. 6.(1) This paragraph applies where an adoption order is revoked...

    2. SCHEDULE 2

      Disclosure of birth records by Registrar General

      1. 1.(1) On an application made in the prescribed manner by...

      2. 2.(1) Before giving any information to an applicant under paragraph...

      3. 3.Where an adopted person who is in Northern Ireland—

    3. SCHEDULE 3

      Minor and consequential amendments

      1. PART 1 Amendments of primary legislation

        1. The Legitimacy Act (Northern Ireland) 1928

          1. 1.In section 8A (legitimation of adopted child)—

        2. The Births and Deaths Registration (Northern Ireland) Order 1976

          1. 2.In Article 37 (registration or alteration of child’s name), in...

        3. The Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985

          1. 3.In Schedule 3 to the Child Abduction and Custody Act...

        4. The Child Abduction (Northern Ireland) Order 1985

          1. 4.(1) Article 3 (offence of abduction of child by parent,...

          2. 5.(1) In the Schedule (modifications of Article 3 for children...

        5. The Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

          1. 6.In Article 34 (minors under guardianship, etc.), in paragraph (3)...

        6. The Family Law Act 1986

          1. 7.In section 1 (orders to which Part 1 applies), in...

          2. 8.In section 19 (jurisdiction: general), after subsection (1) insert—

        7. The Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987

          1. 9.In Article 39 (meaning of “adoption” in Part 5), in...

        8. The Matrimonial and Family Proceedings (Northern Ireland) Order 1989

          1. 10.In Article 33 (declarations as to adoptions effected overseas)—

        9. The Armed Forces Act 1991

          1. 11.In section 17(4) (persons to be given notice of application...

          2. 12.In section 18(7) (persons who may apply to vary or...

          3. 13.In section 20(8) (persons who are to be allowed reasonable...

          4. 14.In section 22A(7) (persons who are to be allowed reasonable...

        10. The Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1991

          1. 15.In Article 10A (definition of “social care and children functions”),...

        11. The Child Support (Northern Ireland) Order 1991

          1. 16.In Article 4 (meaning of certain other terms used in...

          2. 17.In Article 27 (disputes about parentage), in paragraph (3) after...

        12. The Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992

          1. 18.(1) Section 167ZBA (entitlement: prospective adopters with whom looked after...

          2. 19.In section 167ZL (statutory adoption pay: entitlement), in subsection (4A)...

          3. 20.(1) Section 167ZLA (entitlement: prospective adopters with whom looked after...

          4. 21.(1) Section 167ZY (entitlement: prospective adopters with whom looked after...

        13. The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

          1. 22.In Article 2 (interpretation), in paragraph (2)—

          2. 23.In Article 7 (acquisition of parental responsibility), in paragraph (1B)—...

          3. 24.In Article 8 (residence, contact and other orders with respect...

          4. 25.In Article 9 (restrictions on making Article 8 orders), in...

          5. 26.In Article 10 (power of court to make Article 8...

          6. 27.In Article 12 (residence orders and parental responsibility), in paragraph...

          7. 28.In Article 16 (family assistance orders), in paragraph (2)(a) for...

          8. 29.In Article 22 (powers of person with parental responsibility), in...

          9. 30.In Article 28 (regulations under Article 27), in paragraph (1)...

          10. 31.In Article 33 (arrangements to assist children to live abroad)—...

          11. 32.In Article 34E (personal advisers)— (a) in paragraph (1)—

          12. 33.In Article 34F (pathway plans)— (a) in paragraph (1)—

          13. 34.In Article 35 (persons qualifying for advice and assistance)—

          14. 35.In Article 35A (advice and assistance for qualifying persons)—

          15. 36.In Article 35B (assistance with employment, education and training)—

          16. 37.In Article 52 (effect of care order)—

          17. 38.In Article 53 (parental contact etcwith children in care)—

          18. 39.In Article 153 (child care training), in paragraph (3) for...

          19. 40.In Article 155 (parents not being married to, or civil...

          20. 41.In Article 178 (power of constable to assist in exercise...

          21. 42.In Article 179 (effect and duration of orders, etc.), after...

          22. 43.In Schedule 1 (financial provision for children)—

          23. 44.In Schedule 6 (property rights etc.), in paragraph 2 (dispositions...

        14. The Children (Scotland) Act 1995

          1. 45.In section 26 (manner of provision of accommodation to child...

        15. The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996

          1. 46.In Article 85ZJ (right to paid time off to attend...

          2. 47.(1) Article 85ZS (entitlement: prospective adopters with whom looked after...

          3. 48.(1) Article 107AB (ordinary adoption leave: prospective adopters with whom...

          4. 49.(1) Article 107H (entitlement to shared parental leave: prospective adopters...

          5. 50.(1) Article 112BA (entitlement to paternity leave: prospective adopters with...

        16. The Police Act 1997

          1. 51.In section 113A (criminal record certificates), in subsection (6D)(aa) after...

        17. The Family Homes and Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998

          1. 52.In Article 2 (interpretation)— (a) in paragraph (2) for the...

          2. 53.In Article 3 (meaning of “cohabitees” etc.)—

        18. The Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

          1. 54.In Schedule 1 (listed judicial offices) omit each of the...

          2. 55.In Schedule 6 (office-holders required to take judicial oath) omit...

        19. The Adoption and Children Act 2002

          1. 56.In section 63 (counselling), in subsection (4)(b) for the words...

          2. 57.In section 65 (sections 56 to 65: interpretation), in subsection...

          3. 58.In section 123 (restriction on advertisements etc.), in subsection (3)(a)...

          4. 59.In section 144 (general interpretation etc.), in subsection (1)—

        20. The Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

          1. 60.(1) Article 22 (relevant consents required) is amended as follows....

        21. The Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation)(Northern Ireland) Order 2003

          1. 61.In Article 2 (interpretation), in paragraph (2)—

          2. 62.In Article 15 (cancellation of registration), in paragraph (2) for...

          3. 63.In Article 36 (provision of information), in paragraph (2)(a) for...

          4. 64.In Article 38 (statements of minimum standards), in paragraph (4)(d)...

          5. 65.In Article 40 (information, entry and inspection), in paragraph (3)(b)...

        22. The Access to Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

          1. 66.In Article 39 (conditional fee agreements: supplementary), in paragraph (2)(c)...

          2. 67.In Schedule 2 (civil legal services: excluded services), in paragraph...

        23. The Commissioner for Children and Young People (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

          1. 68.In Article 3 (interpretation: child or young person), in paragraph...

        24. The Children and Adoption Act 2006

          1. 69.Omit sections 9 to 12 (special restrictions on adoptions from...

          2. 70.In section 17 (short title, commencement and extent)—

        25. The Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

          1. 71.In Article 34 (family relationships), in paragraph (1)(b) after “adoption)”...

          2. 72.In Article 36 (Articles 32 and 33: sexual relationships which...

          3. 73.In Article 68 (sex with an adult relative: penetration), in...

          4. 74.In Article 69 (sex with an adult relative: consenting to...

        26. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008

          1. 75.In section 55 (parental orders: supplementary provision), in subsection (3)—...

        27. The Children’s Services Co-operation Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

          1. 76.In section 9 (interpretation), in subsection (2)(a) after “34D,” insert...

        28. The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

          1. 77.In section 285 (family relationships etc.)— (a) in subsection (1),...

        29. The Data Protection Act 2018

          1. 78.(1) Paragraph 8(1) of Schedule 3 (exemptions etc from GDPR:...

          2. 79.(1) Schedule 4 (exemptions etc. from the GDPR: disclosure prohibited...

        30. The Health and Social Care Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

          1. 80.(1) Schedule 1 (transfer of the Regional Board’s functions) is...

      2. PART 2 Amendments of subordinate legislation

        1. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Parental Orders) Regulations 2018

          1. 81.In regulation 1 (citation, commencement, extent and interpretation), in paragraph...

          2. 82.(1) In regulation 4 (application of certain provisions of the...

          3. 84.(1) In Schedule 4 (references to adoption etc in enactments...

    4. SCHEDULE 4

      Transitional and transitory provisions and savings

      1. Adoption support services

        1. 1.(1) The facilities to be provided by an HSC trust...

      2. Pending applications for freeing orders

        1. 2.Nothing in this Act affects any application for an order...

      3. Freeing orders

        1. 3.(1) Nothing in this Act affects any order made under...

      4. Pending applications for adoption orders

        1. 4.Nothing in this Act affects any application for an adoption...

      5. Pending applications for parental orders

        1. 5.Where, immediately before the repeal of the Adoption (Northern Ireland)...

      6. Advertising

        1. 6.In Article 60 of the Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987...

      7. Registration of adoptions

        1. 7.(1) The power of the court under paragraph 4(1) of...

      8. The Adoption (Hague Convention) Act (Northern Ireland) 1969

        1. 8.(1) Despite the repeal of the Adoption (Hague Convention) Act...

      9. The Child Abduction (Northern Ireland) Order 1985

        1. 9.Paragraph 5 of Schedule 3 does not affect the Schedule...

    5. SCHEDULE 5


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