QPL Articles

Best Interests of the Child is Dominant Factor in Adoption

By | November 1, 2017

The dominant factor in consideration in the adoption of a child is always the best interest of the child which was reiterated in HRW (Re) 2017 ABQB

Justice Graesser of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed an application by a stepfather to adopt a child without the father’s consent because there was no evidence of risk to harm to the child if the relationship with the father was maintained.  The child’s best interests were not served by severing the relationship with the father.

The factors to be considered in an adoption as defined in Section 58.1 of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c C-12:

58.1  A Court and all persons who exercise any authority or make any decision under this Act relating to the adoption of a child must do so in the best interests of the child, and must consider the following as well as any other relevant matter:

(a) the importance of a positive relationship with a parent, and a secure place as a member of a family, in the child’s development;

(b) the benefits to the child of stability and continuity of care and relationships;

(c) the mental, emotional and physical needs of the child and the child’s mental, emotional and physical stage of development;

(d) the benefits to the child of maintaining, wherever possible, the child’s familial, cultural, social and religious heritage;

(e) the child’s views and wishes, if they can be reasonably ascertained;

(f) the effects on the child of a delay in decision making;

(g) in the case of an aboriginal child, the uniqueness of aboriginal culture, heritage, spirituality and traditions, and the importance of preserving the child’s cultural identity.

In the analysis, Justice Graesser addresses each of the factors from Section 58.1, as outlined above, in denying the adoption application.

Read more at: canlii.org/

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