I’ve had to look up Scottish adoption law today, and found this little piece from the 1995 legislation (Children Act Scotland Act 1995)
96 Duty of adoption agency to consider alternatives to adoption.
After section 6 of the 1978 Act there shall be inserted—
“6A Duty to consider alternatives to adoption.
In complying with its duties under section 6 of this Act, an adoption agency shall, before making any arrangements for the adoption of a child, consider whether adoption is likely best to meet the needs of that child or whether for him there is some better, practicable, alternative; and if it concludes that there is such an alternative it shall not proceed to make those arrangements.
If you just added “And the Court” each time that this says “adoption agency”, it is a pretty workable solution to the whole “nothing else will do” debacle that has had everyone tied up in knots.
I know that in English family Courts, “the Scottish system” is whispered with an air of dread and menace much like actors referring to “the Scottish play” but I’ll point out that this was in their legislation nearly twenty years ago AND three years before the Human Rights Act was adopted. It looks pretty progressive to me.
[We don’t have anything like that in our English or Welsh adoption statutes – this principle of adoption being last resort is purely as a result of judicial interpretation. Be quite nice to have this principle set out in statute, and particularly in such a clear way.]