Expansion of Adoption In The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017
- Created: Wednesday, March 21 2018 22:56
The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 (“the Act”) was enacted on the 19th October 2017 and provides that any child can be adopted.
For the first time therefore, a child of married parents can be placed for adoption where both parents consent to the adoption.
The Act also allows step parents to adopt a child without the requirement of the other parent (the natural parent) to adopt their own child as had been required until then. The step parent will be the sole adopter and will have parental rights and duties in respect of that child.
The Act gives effect to Article 42A of the Constitution in so far as it affects adoption. It provides that both the Adoption Authority and the Courts must have as its paramount consideration the best interests of the child. The Act sets out factors to be considered in ascertaining what is in the best interests of the child and the child’s views can now be taken into account having regard to the age and maturity of the child.
Civil Partners and Cohabitating couples can now adopt.
Since 2010, there have been 2 methods by which an adoption order can be made and one of these has been amended by the Act. The 2 methods are as follows:
- Placement for adoption by the parents
- Non voluntary adoption in exceptional circumstances. This criteria for this provision was amended by the Act and provides that the High Court must be satisfied that the parents have failed in their duty towards that child which has adversely affected the child’s safety or welfare within the previous 36 months and that this failure constitutes abandonment. The child must be in the custody of the proposed adoptive parents for at least 18 months and there must be no reasonable prospect that the natural parents will be able to care for that child. The Child and Family Agency must be satisfied that every reasonable effort has been made to support the birth parents with the aim of achieving “positive family reunification”.