New adoption Bill to end 'babies for sale'

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Indy Politics

People turned down as adoptive parents, including those rejected because they smoke or are overweight, will have the right to an independent appeal under a new Bill on adoption published yesterday.

People turned down as adoptive parents, including those rejected because they smoke or are overweight, will have the right to an independent appeal under a new Bill on adoption published yesterday.

The law will set up a national register to match the 5,000 children waiting to be adopted in Britain with prospective parents. It will also require people who adopt children abroad, such as in China or Romania, to be approved by the English and Welsh authorities or face prison or a fine of up to £5,000.

The new proposals, published after American twin girls were adopted by a British couple through an 'internet broker', outlaw the purchase or sale of children. The Bill is designed to speed up adoption procedures and help find more homes for children in local authority care.

The Local Government Association welcomed the Bill but said it was disappointed that no "new money" had been allocated to improve the system.

"Children must not be bought and sold ... I am pleased that sanctions will be introduced for those who avoid child protection procedures when adopting children from overseas," said Rita Stringfellow, of the association's social affairs and health executive.

The Bill will ensure that people who were adopted will have access to information about their history. To speed up adoption, courts would be able to set deadlines for cases.

John Hutton, a Health minister, said the Government was determined to bring in legislation this year.

"This law will hopefully ensure there are safeguards for these children," he said.

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