Intercountry Adoption (clauses 80 and 83)

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am ar 20 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

19. The Bill includes new tighter controls on intercountry adoption. The need for improved safeguards was highlighted by the high profile Internet twins case earlier this year. The Government made clear its commitment to further consider the controls needed for intercountry adoption at the time of introduction of the previous version of the Bill.

20. Chapter 6 of the Bill incorporates many of the measures in the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999 and extends those measures with new safeguards and penalties. The 1999 Act will largely be repealed in respect of England and Wales when the Bill is enacted.

21. Clause 80 restates the restriction in section 14 of the 1999 Act in respect of British residents bringing or causing someone else to bring a child habitually resident outside the British Islands into the UK with the intention of adopting the child in the UK, unless the person complies with prescribed requirements and meets prescribed conditions. It also introduces a new offence where a child is brought into the UK after being adopted overseas by a British resident within the previous six months, where the British resident has not complied with prescribed requirements and met prescribed conditions. This is in addition to the provision included in the March version of the Bill. It is intended that in both cases regulations will require the British resident to be assessed and approved as suitable to adopt by a UK adoption agency prior to bringing the child into the UK.

22. The new Bill puts in place tougher penalties for those seeking to circumvent the safeguards in clause 80. A person not following the proper procedure will be liable on summary conviction to up to six months' imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding £5,000 or, in the event of the case being referred to the Crown Court, up to twelve months' imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

23. Clause 83 has been amended to allow the Government to ensure that in the future adoption orders made overseas will only be recognised in the UK when the systems in that country meet criteria set out in regulations. A new designated list will be established based on clear criteria. The criteria will include ensuring that proper consents have been given by the birth parents, that the prospective adopters have been assessed and approved as suitable to adopt, and that no profit has been made from the process.