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A child's right to access deceased adoptive parent's birth information

(1 Post)
Bigpondza Tue 04-Dec-12 15:45:11

The Adoption and Children Act does not recognise descendants as ‘birth relatives’. Therefore children of deceased adoptees are denied access to information about their parent’s birth, if that parent died without asking to see his or her own original birth records. Adoption agencies and social services want to help, but cannot act outside of the law.

I have formed the Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons (DAP) Group. I brought a case in the High Court in London against the General Registrar who keeps a register of this information, but the Judge said that it was not a matter for the court to direct the GRO but for Parliament to change the law.

Questions about the rights of descendants have been asked in Parliament, but the government maintains its position of ‘no plans to introduce a change’. A simple amendment to the Act is all that is required to give descendants equal rights with other birth relatives and we can see no good reason for government’s opposition to change. Why won’t government process this simple amendment? We cannot believe there is any potential harm to other parts of the family long since deceased.

The Department for Education is the custodian of the Adoption Act and we are running a letter writing campaign addressed to Edward Timpson, the Children’s Minister, to persuade him to back our proposed change. At the same time the House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption Legislation is due to publish its report in February when we are sure it will mention the rights of descendants and we are looking for a back bencher who might be willing to put down an amendment to the Act at the same time.

Are you affected by this legislation or know someone else who is? If so please ask them to contact me so that they can be kept informed of changes to the law or help by writing letters. Every letter helps to keep the matter alive. There is unlikely to be a better opportunity for a change for some years.

Please tell everyone about it now.

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