Clause 82 - Restriction on taking children out

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:45 am ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health 10:45, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

I am always happy to help the hon. Gentleman, and I was just coming to that point. The use of the terms ''Commonwealth citizen'' and ''habitually resident'' is necessary, for reasons that I will explain, to cover people who I suspect even the hon. Gentleman would agree should be protected under the clause.

The amendment would remove the restrictions on removing children who are Commonwealth citizens from the UK for the purposes of adoption. That would remove a protection that currently exists under the 1976 Act and might put at risk some children who are

in the UK but who are not considered to be habitually resident here. A British citizen who is not habitually resident in the UK would be protected by clause 82 without the use of the term ''Commonwealth citizen''—that was the reason for its inclusion in the 1976 Act.

The term ''Commonwealth citizen'' includes British citizens, British dependent territories citizens, British nationals overseas, British overseas citizens and other British subjects. That means that a British child who has not been resident in the UK for long enough to be considered habitually resident here would still be protected by the clause. The removal of ''Commonwealth citizen'' would mean that such people would not be protected from removal from the country for adoption overseas.

Given the historic links between the UK and the Commonwealth, we know that many children who are Commonwealth citizens come to the UK for schooling and other purposes. It is important to ensure that once the Bill comes into force they will be, as they are now, afforded protection from being taken overseas by individuals for adoption.