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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 98: Restriction on reports

Section 98 provides restrictions on the preparation of certain reports in connection with adoption. Subsection (1) provides a regulation making power so that a person who is not within a prescribed description may not, in any prescribed circumstances, prepare a report for any person about the suitability of a child for adoption or of a person to adopt a child or about the adoption, or placement for adoption, of a child. The intention is to use this power to regulate the preparation of assessment, post-placement and post-adoption reports and to ensure that only suitably skilled or professionally qualified staff carry out the necessary evaluations and report writing. Subsection (2)(a) provides that an offence is committed if a person contravenes subsection (1). Subsection (2)(b) provides that an offence is committed where someone causes a person to prepare a report or submits to any person a report which has been prepared in contravention of subsection (1). Subsection (3) provides that where an offence is committed by a person who works for an appropriate voluntary organisation, the manager of that appropriate voluntary organisation is also guilty of the offence. A defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2)(b) is provided by subsection (4). Subsection (5) sets out the penalty on summary conviction where an offence is committed as imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

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