The Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations 2009: Scottish Government Response to Consultation

Consultation report on the Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations

Regulation 7 - Duties of adoption agencies: placing the child for adoption (now Regulation 18)

Question 11: Does Regulation 7 cover the agencies requirements when placing a child for adoption? If not, what is required?

Several responses took the view that paragraph (1)(a) should refer to "adoption" instead of "placement". Three responses indicated that the references to "examined" should be references to "assessed" and that the Regulation should contain provision to enable an adoption agency to proceed with a placement in the event that a birth parent refuses permission for medical examination/assessment.

Question 12: Are the lists in Parts I, II and III of Schedule 1 complete? If not what needs to be added?

The general view was that there were no glaring omissions from the Schedule. Suggested additions ranged from the inclusion of information about the child's ethnicity and linguistic needs to information about referees and local authority checks.

A number of comments were made in relation to Schedule 1 as follows:-

Nationality should be covered;

The wording in the Schedule concerning race etc. should be the same as in the Act i.e. religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;

Part I should include the child's ethnicity and linguistic needs;

Part I, Paragraph 5 (now paragraph 5 of Part II) should also include the emotional development of the child;

Part I, Paragraph 12 (now paragraph 13 of Part II) should not include particulars of the people with whom the child had been placed by the local authority if this information had been previously withheld in the best interests or for the safety of the child or carers;

Part II (now Part III) should include the address of the child's parents or guardian;

Part II should include referees and local authority checks;

Part II should include a requirement to obtain information from any previous spouses or significant partners about applicant's suitability to adopt;

Part II, Paragraph 3 (now paragraph 2 of Part III) should be amended to include a reference to civil partnership status and date and place of registration of civil partnership.

Part III, Paragraph 11 (now paragraph 11 of Part I) should have "adopter's" inserted between "prospective" and "family";

Part III, Paragraph 14(j) (now paragraph 14(j) of Part I) is quite prescriptive and does not include, for example, people refused registration by the Scottish Social Services Council;

Part III, Paragraph 15 (now paragraph 15 of Part I) should have "and into adulthood" added after "childhood";

Part III, Paragraph 19 (now paragraph 19 of Part I) should possibly read "Past and present interests and chronological employment history";

Part III, Paragraph 21 (now paragraph 21 of Part I) should be removed and included in the Adoption Allowances Regulations;

Part III, Paragraph 23 ((now paragraph 23 of Part I) needs to be more specific that references must be sought and not just that 2 names and addresses are sought. Also needs some clarification that it is 2 references per applicant and not 2 references between them. Would be good practice to seek 2 personal references per applicant, one reference from a referee who knows the applicants as a couple and employer references for each applicant;

Part III, Paragraph 23 (now paragraph 23 of Part I) should say "at least two referees, two of whom are not relatives";

Part III, Paragraph 23 (now paragraph 23 of Part I) should require information from 3 referees rather than current practice of 2;

Scottish Government response/action

Regulation 7 of the consultation draft and the reference to "placement" therein replicates the requirement in the 1996 Regulations (Regulation (9)(1)(h) of those Regulations) that an adoption agency could not place or secure the placing of a child in the care and possession of the person proposing to adopt the child unless the agency had concluded that the placement would best meet the welfare of the child. This provision (new Regulation 18) concerns what must be done before a child may be placed for adoption.

The Regulation has been adjusted to the effect that the requirement to have a medical report on the child is only where it is reasonably practicable to obtain such a report.

The comments on Schedule 1 have been dealt with as follows:-

Part II, Paragraph 2 now refers to "ethnicity" and paragraph 6 covers "linguistic and cultural needs";

Part II, Paragraph 13 replicates paragraph 11 of Part I of Schedule 2 to the 1996 Regulations. Guidance can cover the need, where appropriate, to withhold any information about previous carers;

Part III, Paragraph 1 now requests the address of the parents or guardian of the child;

Part I, Paragraph 11 now has "adopter's" inserted between "prospective" and "family";

Part II, Paragraph 5 has been adjusted to include "emotional development";

Part I, Paragraph 15 relates to a person's ability to raise a child throughout their childhood. Once the child reaches adulthood they are no longer being "raised";

Part I, Paragraph 23 has been adjusted to prescribe a minimum of 2 referees. Any other requirements can be covered in guidance;

Part I, Paragraph 14(j) has been adjusted to cover persons who have been refused registration as a child minder or a nursery worker under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001;

Part III, Paragraph 21 has been retained. It replicates paragraph 21 of Part IV of Schedule 2 to the 1996 Regulations. It seems sensible for a view on an adoption allowance to be taken at the time when an agency is considering whether assistance is likely to be required to either support a placement or to continue the adoption arrangements after an adoption order has been made.

Part III, Paragraph 2 has been amended to include a reference to civil partnership status and date and place of civil partnership registration.

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