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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 31: Placement orders: prohibition on removal

Section 31 applies where a placement order is in force or has been revoked, but the child has not been returned by the prospective adopters or remains in any accommodation provided by an adoption authority (subsection (1)). It is an offence, punishable as set out in subsection (5), for a person (other than the adoption authority) to remove the child from the prospective adopters or accommodation provided by the authority.

Where a placement order has been revoked, it will be for the court, when they revoke the order, to determine whether the child is to remain with the prospective adopters or be returned to the adoption authority or parent or guardian. If the court determines the child should not remain with the former prospective adopters, they must return the child to the adoption authority within a period determined by the court, otherwise they commit an offence (subsection (3)). If the court determines that the child should return to the parent or guardian, the adoption authority must secure the child’s return to the parent or guardian within 7 days from the day the child is returned to the authority, or where the child is in accommodation provided by an authority, within 7 days from the day on which the revocation of the placement order comes into force (subsection (4)). This section does not prevent the removal of a child who is arrested (subsection (7)) and subsection (8) provides that section 31 applies whether or not the child in question is in Northern Ireland.

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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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