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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 19: Applications for placement orders

Section 19 sets out when an adoption authority must apply for a placement order. An adoption authority must apply for a placement order when the child is placed for adoption or is accommodated by an adoption authority; they are satisfied that the child ought to be placed for adoption; no adoption agency is authorised to place the child for adoption; and either the child has no parent or guardian or the authority consider the threshold criteria in section 50(2) of the Children Order are met (subsection (1)). This might occur for example where the parent has withdrawn consent to placement for adoption but the authority remains of the view the child should be adopted.

Where an application is pending on which a care order under the Children Order might be made, or the child is subject to a care order but the parent does not consent to the placement of a child for adoption, and the authority is satisfied that the child should be placed for adoption, it must apply to the court for a placement order (subsection (2)). If the child is subject to a care order and the parent or guardian is prepared to consent to the placement of the child for adoption, an authority has the discretion as to whether to apply for a placement order (subsection (3)). Alternatively, it could decide to place the child with parental consent under section 16.

Subsection (4) provides that where an adoption authority is under a duty to apply for a placement order or an application for a placement order is pending, or has applied for a placement order and the application has not been disposed of, the child is a looked after child for the purposes of the Children Order until the application is determined. If a placement order is made, the child continues to count as looked after by virtue of section 15(3). Subsection (5) provides that subsections (1) to (3) do not apply if any persons have given notice of intention to adopt, unless they have not applied for an adoption order within four months of giving such notice; their application for such an order has been withdrawn or refused; or an application for an adoption order has been made and has not been disposed of.

Subsection (6) enables the court, where the application for a placement order is pending and no interim care order has been made, to give directions for the child to undergo medical, psychiatric or other assessment.

The application for a placement order is to be made by the appropriate authority as defined in subsection (7).

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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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