Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017

Pre-placement consultation procedure

7. The Principal Act is amended by the substitution of the following section for section 17:

“17. (1) Where an accredited body proposes to place a child for adoption—

(a) the accredited body shall request the Authority in writing and in a form and manner approved by the Authority to provide the body with a copy of any notice received by the Authority under section 16(1) from a relevant non-guardian of that child, and

(b) the Authority shall—

(i) as soon as practicable, provide the notice (if any) to the accredited body, or

(ii) where at the time of the request under paragraph (a), it has not received any notice, so inform the accredited body and afterwards, if the Authority so receives a notice under section 16(1), provide the notice forthwith to the accredited body.

(2) Subject to this section and section 18, where an accredited body proposes to place a child for adoption, the accredited body shall, before placing the child for adoption, take such steps as are reasonably practicable, to consult any relevant non-guardian for the purposes of—

(a) informing him or her of the proposed adoption,

(b) explaining to him or her the legal implications of, and the procedures related to, adoption, and

(c) ascertaining whether or not he or she objects to the proposed adoption.

(3) Where—

(a) each relevant non-guardian of a child indicates to the accredited body that he or she has no objection to the proposed placement of the child concerned for adoption, the accredited body may at any time thereafter, place the child for adoption, or

(b) any relevant non-guardian objects to the proposed placement of the child for adoption, the accredited body shall—

(i) notify in writing in the prescribed manner each of the parents, guardians and relevant non-guardians of the child, informing them that it is deferring the placement for such period (in this section referred to as the ‘deferral period’) as is specified in the notice, being a period of not less than 21 days, commencing on the date of the notice, for the purpose of affording the relevant non-guardian an opportunity to make an application to court under the Act of 1964, and

(ii) defer the placement in accordance with the notification.

(4) Where an accredited body receives a notice that an application to court referred to in subsection (3) (b) (i) has been made in relation to a child, the accredited body shall not place the child for adoption until the proceedings are concluded.

(5) Where an accredited body has not received—

(a) a notice referred to in subsection (4) within the deferral period, and

(b) any indication from a relevant non-guardian under paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3) within 21 days of informing the person of the proposed placement of the child, as to whether or not he or she has any objection to the proposed placement,

the accredited body may, at any time thereafter, place the child for adoption unless it receives a notice under subsection (4).

(6) A person who is a party to an application referred to in subsection (3) (b) (i) may apply to court for, and the court, where it is in the best interests of the child, may grant, such order as it considers appropriate to expedite the proceedings, which order may include, but shall not be limited to an order—

(a) for substituted service, or

(b) abridging the time fixed by rules of court for taking any step or doing any act in the proceedings.”.