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Accreditation of adoption bodies to be completed

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Tuesday, January 11, 2011

THE Adoption Authority is to complete the process of accrediting bodies wishing to provide adoption services in the coming weeks.

The news comes following the confirmation that two members of the Adoption Authority, Dr Helen Greally, and medical practitioner Dr Cyril McNulty, have stood down in recent weeks.

It is understood Dr Greally resigned prior to the authority coming into force, while Dr McNulty resigned for personal reasons.

A number of recent reports had expressed concerns raised by voluntary adoption agencies and the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies, who felt they had been left "in limbo" by having to re-apply to be accredited under the new Adoption Act.

However, Minister for Children Barry Andrews hit out at "incorrect" reports that adoption agencies were in a legal limbo under the new regime.

He pointed out the new act was very clear in stating that all bodies wishing to provide adoption services were to re-apply under the new regime.

The Irish Examiner understands the process is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

"This legislation ends the practice whereby a single adoption agency could provide the full range of adoption services, from pre-birth counselling to post-birth placement, with prospective parents," the minister said. "This was a very clear policy decision taken to avoid the obvious conflicts that could arise. This was communicated to the agencies involved on several occasions over the course of the past 12 months. Each agency needs to decide what services it wishes to deliver and apply for accreditation."

The Adoption Authority wrote to the HSE before Christmas to inform it that no legal limbo existed for adoption service providers and that it could provide services to ensure that no one would be left without service in the transitional phase.

Advertisements seeking expressions of interest from bodies wishing to provide adoption services were placed in the national media last month, while similar adverts relating to those wishing to become accredited mediation agencies for inter-country adoption were circulated in November.

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“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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