Changes to the adoption law have a major impact, the minister says

Image caption, If approved, the Adoption Act 2021 would come into effect in July

  • Author, Rebecca Brahde
  • Role, BBC Isle of Man

New laws streamlining the adoption process will have a “significant and truly positive” impact on families going through the adoption process, the Health Secretary has said.

Regulations relating to the Adoption Act 2021 will be submitted to Tynwald this month and, if approved, will come into effect in July.

The regulations aim to speed up the decision-making and adoption process, which is currently governed by 1984 legislation, and provide ongoing support once the child has entered the adoptive family.

Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper said the new laws would make the process “more targeted” but “ultimately put the needs of that child absolutely at the heart”.

Image caption, Nine ordinances will come into effect before Tynwald’s meeting in June

While the updated legislation received Royal Assent in October 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care has since developed underlying regulations, with nine orders set to be referred to Tynwald – six of which require approval.

The regulations provide for the introduction of the Adoption Support Fund and support services, which aim to provide ongoing assistance once the child has settled in with their new family, including circumstances where they require therapy following adverse experiences.

Mr Hooper said this would ensure that “once you have gone through the process you are not just let go by the system”.

The regulations would also introduce an independent review mechanism through which decisions made by Manx Care can be challenged to make the process ‘more robust and transparent’.

A key goal was to “accelerate the process of ensuring children spend less time in the system,” Hooper said.

If they did not know “what the future holds” for a long time, it could have “serious consequences for them,” he continued.

“It will be a big change in the way we do things, but it will have a significant and really positive impact on those small numbers of people who adopt or are adopted,” Mr Hooper added.

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