Select Committee on Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill First Report

Chapter 7: Adoptions with a foreign element (clauses 6 to 8)

201.  We expect the Government to take into account in the full Bill any issues arising from the judicial review proceedings. (para 123)

202.  Many of the problems arising within this part of the draft Bill, and outlined in our discussions below, could have been mitigated by greater consultation before publication. (para 124)

203.  A significant amount of detail in this part of the draft Bill has been left to regulations. This includes regulations to set out the special restrictions placed upon a country and to make provision for exceptional cases. The content of these regulations will be key to addressing some of the concerns we outline below. (para 125)

204.  It should be stated clearly on the face of the Bill that, in considering whether special restrictions ought to be imposed, the Secretary of State must have particular regard to the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Hague Convention on Protection and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. (para 130)

205.  We recommend that the full Bill should include a requirement for the Government to consult with relevant stakeholders before making a decision to impose special restrictions. (para 137)

206.  We recommend that the Government review the cut-off point for adoption from a restricted country, with the intention of providing transitional arrangements for those couples at an advanced stage in the adoption process, bearing in mind that the welfare of the child is at all times the paramount consideration. (para 141)

207.  The procedure for considering exceptional cases in relation to a restricted country should be set out in the special restrictions regulations. We further recommend that the Government consider establishing an appeals procedure and explore whether this function could be undertaken by the Independent Review Mechanism established by the Adoption and Children Act 2002. Any appeals procedure must meet the requirement that the welfare of the child is at all times the paramount consideration. (para 145)

208.  We recommend that the Government should take steps to establish an inter-country adoption agency, which we believe would enhance good adoption practice and inform the Government about unsatisfactory practices in countries where children are available for adoption. (para 149)

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