c) Decision to apply for placement order

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 20 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Clause 21 of the Bill sets out the circumstances in which a local authority must or may apply for a placement order. The circumstances under clause 21(1) are those where the child has been voluntarily accommodated by the local authority, or placed for adoption by agreement. The local authority must apply for a placement order if they consider that the child should be adopted, and that the conditions for a care order under s.31(2) of the Children Act are satisfied, and they are not ``authorised'' to place the child for adoption—i.e. that the consent of one or more parent or guardian to placement for adoption is not, or is no longer, forthcoming. This in itself is quite appropriate, but, by virtue of clause 29(2), as soon as the local authority falls under the duty to apply for a placement order (i.e.—presumably—as soon as they are satisfied that the conditions under clause 21(1) exist, no one, including the child's parents may remove the child from the local authority accommodation without the leave of the court. This contrasts with the position under the Children Act where a local authority faced with a parent's desire to remove a child from accommodation when they think this will put the child at risk must apply for an emergency protection order. In this situation the onus is on the local authority to apply to the court to protect the child; under the Bill the onus is placed on the parent to apply to the court if they wish to have the child returned. This is reminiscent of the old ``parental rights'' resolutions prior to the Children Act, which were condemned by the European Court of Human Rights and the House of Commons Select Committee Report on children in care in 1984.