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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 11: Fees

Section 11 amplifies the powers in section 9 in relation to the charging and payment of fees. Subsection (1) enables the Department to make regulations providing for the fees which may be charged by adoption agencies for the provision of prescribed services to those providing facilities as part of the Adoption Service (including Adoption Services in Great Britain, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), and for the fees to be paid by adoption agencies to those providing services on their behalf or assisting in providing those services. This power could, for example, be used to make regulations to underpin or make changes to the “inter-agency fee” (a payment currently made by an adoption agency to another adoption agency which has recruited an adoptive family on its behalf). The power could also be used to make regulations to enable payments to persons assisting in the assessment of adopters, such as members of adoption panels.

Subsection (2) enables the Department to make regulations prescribing the fees which may be charged by an adoption authority in respect of prescribed facilities of the Adoption Service, provided that the conditions in subsection (3) are met. The conditions are that the facilities must be provided in connection with the adoption of a child brought into the United Kingdom for the purpose of adopting the child, or in connection with a Convention adoption, an overseas adoption or an adoption effected under the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

It is intended that any charges provided for by these regulations will contribute towards an adoption authority's costs in providing information, preparing and assessing prospective adopters, obtaining medical reports and police checks and preparing post-placement and post-adoption reports in respect of inter-country adoption cases. They will not include any element of profit.

Subsection (4) enables regulations to prescribe the fees which may be charged by an adoption agency in respect of the provision of counselling provided in connection with the disclosure of information in relation to a person's adoption. This means that regulations may enable adoption authorities as well as appropriate voluntary organisations to charge fees for the provision of such counselling services. It also provides for those fees to be regulated. It is intended to provide for an adoption authority or appropriate voluntary organisation to be able to charge a fee to any person, other than an adopted person, who is receiving counselling in connection with the disclosure of information about an adoption made before the Act is implemented. The fee may only be for the reasonable costs incurred by the adoption agency for the provision of the counselling.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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