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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Adoption law reforms considered
Children - generic
The review group will examine current adoption laws
Laws on adoption and fostering are to be reformed for the first time in 20 years, the Scottish Executive has said.

It has set up a review group, headed by Sheriff Principal Graham Cox, to help modernise current legislation.

Under existing Scots law, unmarried couples, either same-sex or heterosexual, can be assessed to adopt a child - but only one person can adopt.

Euan Robson, the deputy minister for young people, said it was important to recognise children's needs.

'Tough questions'

He said: "The other partner can already apply for other forms of legal recognition for their position, for example a residence order.

"We want to ensure future legislation serves the best interests of individual children.

"We must also ensure we don't discriminate against any couple who can offer a child the opportunity to grow up in a nurturing family environment."

Sheriff Cox said the review group will look at various issues including contact rights for children and how the adoption process can be speeded up.

He said: "Current legislation dates from the 1970s and may not fully meet modern needs.

"These and others are tough questions. They need to be asked now."

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