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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 52: Modification of Children Order in relation to adoption

Under the Children Order, a child who is authorised to be placed for adoption by an adoption authority is looked after by the authority, whether or not the child is actually placed for adoption. The intention in extending the 'looked after' status to children where there is authorisation to place for adoption is to ensure that it is clear that the authority is to have a continuing responsibility for managing and overseeing the child's future, and regularly reviewing their progress, until an adoption order is made. This also applies to a child who has been placed for adoption by an adoption authority and is less than 6 weeks old.

However, in order to reflect the particular circumstances of placement for adoption, certain provisions in the Children Order will need to be modified or disapplied where an adoption authority is authorised to place a child for adoption, whether or not the child is placed. Subsection (1) provides that such modification or disapplication may be made by way of regulations. The provisions are Article 26(2)(b), (c) and (d) and (3)(b) of the Children Order (duty to ascertain wishes and feelings of certain persons) and Articles 29 and 39 (promoting contact with parents and parents’ obligation to contribute towards maintenance) (subsection (2)).

Subsection (3) makes similar provision to modify or disapply specified provisions of the Children Order where an appropriate voluntary organisation (see section 2(3) for the definition of “appropriate voluntary organisation” – means a voluntary organisation which is an adoption society in respect of which a person is registered) is authorised to place a child for adoption or has placed a child for adoption who is less than 6 weeks old.

Subsection (4) provides that where a child’s home is with persons who have given notice of intention to adopt, no contribution is payable under Articles 38 to 43 of the Children Order (contributions towards maintenance of children looked after by an authority) in respect of the period referred to in subsection (5). Subsection (5) sets out when the period begins and ends. Subsection (6) defines that the “notice of intention to adopt” includes any notice of intention to apply for an adoption order under the law of any part of the United Kingdom.

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Explanatory Notes

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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