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Guidance on Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007

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ADOPTION AGENCIES (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2009

Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations 2009

The Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations 2009 have eight parts covering

I General (citation and commencement and interpretations)

II Adoption Panels

III Assessment of Prospective Adopters

IV Duties of an adoption agency when considering adoption for a child

V Consent certificates

VI Application for a Permanence Order giving authority for adoption

VII Placement for adoption

VIII Case Records

While this guidance follows these parts to a considerable extent, where it aids clarity some other aspects are drawn out and dealt with separately, with some cross referencing to the appropriate regulations. Some of this reflects the complexity of adoption in its various forms as we know it in the 21st century. Factors contributing to this are

  • The application for an adoption order is under private law, an action taken by the prospective adopters, not an application under public law by a public body. There is a distinction between agency and non-agency placements, with one group of non-agency adoptions being by step parents or close relatives as defined in section 119(1) of the 2007 Act. By definition, these non-agency cases do not require the applicants for the adoption order to be approved by an agency as adopters. They do not, therefore, come before the adoption panel or go to the agency decision-maker. The local authority does, however, have a duty, when notified of an intention to adopt by a step parent or a relative, to investigate and report to the court on the welfare of the child.
  • Other non-agency cases concern inter-country adoptions. The prospective adopters require to be assessed and approved in a similar way to domestic adopters so that there is an agency responsibility for this process. There is, however, no agency involvement in the matching and placement of the child as this occurs in the sending country and not in Scotland. There are also separate regulations for adoptions with a foreign element.
  • These regulations cover all agency adoptions of children by non-related adopters. A small number of these will be relinquished infants but an increasing number will be children who are already looked after by a local authority and the plan for adoption comes at a key point in the planning and reviewing process. Much of the stimulus for the change in legislation came from concern about developing a structure which is effective in addressing the needs of the very varied and complex backgrounds of many of the children being placed for adoption now. This structure needs to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the needs of relinquished infants within a system where this is no longer the predominant type of adoption.

While this guidance relates primarily to regulations, it should be read in conjunction with the 2007 Act.