Clause 81 - Giving parental responsibility prior to adoption abroad

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health 10:30, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

The hon. Gentleman, rightly, raises the issue of consistency and refers to other places in the Bill in which ''habitually'' is used. However, the use of ''at all times'' is consistent with section 13 of the 1976 Act, which requires the child to have had his home with the adopters at all times. Obviously, the meaning of the phrase will depend on the facts of the case, but it has not caused problems up to now, and the use of the phrase itself is not unprecedented.

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concerns, but can only reiterate that we believe that removing the phrase would remove some clarity and might cause disputes about how much of the preceding 10 weeks a child needs to have lived with prospective adopters and when a home is really a home. Casting doubt on those matters would open a loophole that might be exploited and would not be in the child's best interests. I hope that I have allayed his concerns by explaining the interpretation of the phrase and the extent to which it is consistent with other legislation, and that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.