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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 32: Return of child in other cases

Section 32 applies in cases where the prospective adopters want to return the child or the adoption agency has decided that the child should not remain with the prospective adopters. In the first case, the prospective adopters must give notice to the agency that they want to return the child and the agency has to collect the child (subsection (1)). The agency must also notify the child's parent or guardian so they may consider their position. The provision requires that the agency must receive the child from the prospective adopters before the end of a period of seven days beginning with the giving of notice. In the second case, the agency must give notice to the prospective adopters that it does not want the child to remain with them and the prospective adopters must return the child within 7 days of the giving of notice (subsection (2)). Again, the agency must inform the child's parent or guardian (subsection (3)). If the prospective adopters fail to return the child within 7 days of the giving of notice, they commit an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 of the standard scale, or both (subsection (4)).

If a notice of removal is given under subsection (2), an application was made for an adoption order, residence order or special guardianship order, or for leave to apply for these orders in respect of the child, and that application has not been disposed of, the prospective adopters do not have to return the child unless the court makes an order to that effect (subsection (5)).

This section applies whether or not the child in question is in Northern Ireland (subsection (6)).

In subsection (5)(b) “adoption order” means an adoption order made under the law of any part of the United Kingdom (subsection (7)).

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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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