'( ) after subsection (5) there is inserted
"(5A) A local authority foster parent is entitled to apply for a residence order with respect to a child if the child has lived with him for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application.",'.
The amendment removes an inconsistency between the Children Act 1989 and the adoption provisions as they relate to local authority foster carers. Under clause 41(4), a local authority foster carer may apply as of right for an adoption order for a child in their care, provided that the child has had his or her home with the foster carer for 12 months. The carers do not need the leave of the court or the permission of the local authority to apply to adopt. However, under clause 109, which relates to section 9 of the 1989 Act, if a child has lived with a local authority foster carer for one year, the carer may apply for a residence order, but needs the leave of the court to make the application. Stakeholders have drawn our attention to that inconsistency. We do not believe that it is right that there should be a leave requirement for residence order applications by foster carers after one year when there is not one for adoption orders, which have greater lifelong implications.
20 May 2002 : Column 86
The amendment removes that minor inconsistency by making specific provision in section 10 of the 1989 Act in respect of residence orders. It makes it clear that the foster carer may apply as of right if a child has been with them for one year, up to the time when the application is made. I hope that the House will support that minor correction.
That is fine.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments made: No. 107, in page 91, line 4, leave out from beginning to "or".
No. 264, in page 91, line 17, leave out "care" and insert "section 31A".
No. 265, in page 91, line 17, leave out "31A(1)" and insert "31A(6)".
No. 284, in page 94, line 29, leave out "14" and insert "13".
No. 285, in page 95, line 3, at end insert
'Section 14 (restriction on bringing children into the United Kingdom for adoption) is omitted'.
No. 269, in page 95, line 21, leave out from "1999" to the end of line 23 and insert
'(e) an offence under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or regulations made under it." '
No. 266, in page 96, line 11, at end insert
In section 12(5) of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (meaning of "family proceedings" in relation to CAFCASS), paragraph (b) (supervision orders under the 1989 Act) and the preceding "and" are omitted'.[Jacqui Smith.]
Transitional provisions and savings
'The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (c.43)
Amendments made: No. 286, in page 96, line 40, at end insert
2A (1) The facilities to be provided by local authorities as part of the service maintained under section 1(1) of the Adoption Act 1976 include such arrangements as the authorities may be required by regulations to make for the provision of adoption support services to prescribed persons.
(2) Regulations under sub-paragraph (1) may require a local authority
(a) at the request of a prescribed person, to carry out an assessment of his needs for adoption support services,
(b) if, as a result of the assessment, the authority decide that he has such needs, to decide whether to provide any such services to him,
(c) if the authority decide to provide any such services to a person, and the circumstances fall within a description prescribed by the regulations, to prepare a plan in accordance with which the services are to be provided to him and keep the plan under review.
(3) Subsections (6) and (7) (except paragraph (a)) of section 4 of this Act apply to regulations under sub-paragraph (1) as they apply to regulations made by virtue of that section.
(4) Section 57(1) of the Adoption Act 1976 (prohibited payments) does not apply to any payment made in accordance with regulations under sub-paragraph (1).
20 May 2002 : Column 87
2B (1) After section 9 of the Adoption Act 1976 there is inserted
"9A Independent review of determinations
(1) Regulations under section 9 may establish a procedure under which any person in respect of whom a qualifying determination has been made by an adoption agency may apply to a panel constituted by the Secretary of State for a review of that determination.
(2) The regulations must make provision as to the description of determinations which are qualifying determinations for the purposes of subsection (1).
(3) The regulations may include provision as to
(a) the duties and powers of a panel (including the power to recover the costs of a review from the adoption agency by which the determination reviewed was made),
(b) the administration and procedures of a panel,
(c) the appointment of members of a panel (including the number, or any limit on the number, of members who may be appointed and any conditions for appointment),
(d) the payment of expenses of members of a panel,
(e) the duties of adoption agencies in connection with reviews conducted under the regulations,
(f) the monitoring of any such reviews.
(4) The Secretary of State may make an arrangement with an organisation under which functions in relation to the panel are performed by the organisation on his behalf.
(5) If the Secretary of State makes such an arrangement with an organisation, the organisation is to perform its functions under the arrangement in accordance with any general or special directions given by the Secretary of State.
(6) The arrangement may include provision for payments to be made to the organisation by the Secretary of State.
(7) Where the functions of the Secretary of State are exercisable by the National Assembly for Wales, subsections (4) and (6) also apply as if references to an organisation included references to the Secretary of State.
(8) In this section, "organisation" includes a public body and a private or voluntary organisation".
(2) In the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999, in Schedule 1, in the entry for the Adoption Act 1976, after "9" there is inserted "9A".'
No. 277, in page 97, line 12, leave out "20 and" and insert "19 to".
Independent review mechanism
No. 287, in page 97, line 41, at end insert
7A (1) For section 56A of the Adoption Act 1976 there is substituted
"56A Restriction on bringing children into the United Kingdom
(1) This section applies where a person who is habitually resident in the British Islands (the "British resident")
(a) brings, or causes another to bring, a child who is habitually resident outside the British Islands into the United Kingdom for the purpose of adoption by the British resident, or
(b) at any time brings, or causes another to bring, into the United Kingdom a child adopted by the British resident under an external adoption effected within the period of six months ending with that time.
The references to adoption, or to a child adopted, by the British resident include a reference to adoption, or to a child adopted, by the British resident and another person.
(2) But this section does not apply if
(a) the adopters or (as the case may be) prospective adopters are natural parents, natural relatives or guardians of the child (or one of them is),
(b) the British resident is a step-parent of the child,
(c) the child is intended to be adopted under a Convention adoption order.
20 May 2002 : Column 88
(3) An external adoption means an adoption, other than a Convention adoption, of a child effected under the law of any country or territory outside the British Islands, whether or not the adoption is
(a) an adoption within the meaning of Part IV of this Act, or
(b) a full adoption (within the meaning of section 39(3A)).
(4) Regulations may require a person intending to bring, or to cause another to bring, a child into the United Kingdom in circumstances where this section applies
(a) to apply to an adoption agency (including an adoption agency within the meaning of section 1 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 or Article 3 of the Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987) in the prescribed manner for an assessment of his suitability to adopt the child, and