Bill will tighten adoption law

New laws to tighten up the adoption of children from overseas have been tabled in the House of Assembly.

The Adoption of Children Amendment Bill 2011 aims to bring the Island in line with international standards in governing adoption.

The new rules and regulations are to be discussed as amendments to the Adoption of Children Act 2006.

The new piece of legislation states that a child can only be bought into Bermuda for adoption from an “approved jurisdiction.”

The exception is if the child is to be adopted by a relative or by a person who will become the adoptive parent jointly with the child’s parent.

If a child is brought to the Island for adoption from overseas, a court has to grant permission for the child to be transferred to Bermuda and permission must be sought under the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956.

Another amendment is that it will become an offence for a person to place a child for adoption overseas without the permission of the Director of Child and Family Services and an order of the court.

A person who breaks this law does so at the risk of conviction.

It will also be up to the Director to arrange for the care and custody or placement of a child in the event an application for an adoption order is refused.

This could include transferring care to another prospective adoptive parent or placing the child in the care of a caregiver.

Minister of Youth Affairs and Families Glenn Blakeney tabled the Adoption of Children Amendment Act in the House of Assembly on Friday. It will be given a second reading at a later date.

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