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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 39: Child to live with adopters before application

Section 39 sets out the period a child must live with the applicants before they can apply or an adoption order. Where the child is placed for adoption by an adoption agency (or pursuant to an order of the High Court, or being adopted by their natural parent) an application for an adoption order may not be made unless the child has had their home with one or both of the applicants at all times in the 10 weeks before the application is made (subsection (2)).

For adoptions by a partner of a parent, the child is required to have had their home with the applicant or applicants at all times during the period of one year preceding the application (subsection (3)). The period is also one year in the case of non-agency applications by authority foster parents and 3 out of the last 5 years in any other non-agency cases, unless the court gives leave for an earlier application (subsections (4) to (6)).

Subsection (7) provides that the court may not make an adoption order unless it is satisfied the adoption agency, including a Great Britain agency, or an adoption authority within whose area the child lives in non-agency cases, has had sufficient opportunities to see the child with the applicants in their home.

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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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