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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July 2005, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Children and Adoption Bill
AIM
This bill provides courts with more flexible arrangements to facilitate and enforce contact arrangements between separated parents and their children.

And it provides a legal framework for suspending inter-country adoptions.

MAIN PROVISIONS
BILL'S PROGRESS
Responsible department: Dept for Education and Skills
Origin: House of Lords
Introduced: 13 June 2005
Second reading: 29 June 2005
Committee stage: 11, 12, 17 & 19 Oct 2005
Report stage: 14 Nov 2005
Third reading: 29 Nov 2005
COMMONS:
First reading: 30 Nov 2005
Second reading: 2 March 2006
Committee stage: 14, 16 & 21 March 2006
Report stage: 20 June 2006
Royal assent: 21 June 2006
  • Those directly involved to attend information sessions, parenting programmes, counselling or "other activities designed to deal with contact disputes"
  • Community based "enforcement orders" to be imposed or financial compensation awarded (for example where the cost of a holiday has been lost) where a contact order has been breached
  • Provides a legal framework for restrictions on inter-country adoption from specified countries with public policy concerns about the process of adoption in that country - for example the possibility of child trafficking
  • Allows an administrative charge to be made for the processing of inter-country adoption cases by the Department for Education and Skills
  • Clarification of the legal definition of harm to children so that the effects of children witnessing as well as suffering domestic violence directly are taken in to account
  • Pilots of a legal advice telephone helpline and of a "collaborative law" model which promotes out of court agreements

    BACKGROUND
    Based on the inter-departmental Green Paper Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parent's Responsibilities published in July 2004.

    The legislation does not substantially alter the terms of the Children's Act 1989, but clarifies the means of implementation and penalties to enable more flexibility for the courts.

    The key principle that children benefit from contact with both parents remains - although not necessarily equal contact, which is deemed impractical.



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