New Adoption Authority
Irish Times, Mon, Nov
The establishment of a
new Adoption Authority from today is a key element of a “complete
overhaul” of the adoption process in Ireland, Minister for Children
Barry Andrews has said.
Mr Andrews was marking
the enactment of the Adoption Act 2010 and the appointment of the new
“The establishment of
the Adoption Authority will be central to the administration of
adoption, domestic and intercountry, for many years to come,” he said.
He said the new
authority was charged with “ensuring high standards, setting
guidelines for the HSE and other bodies and regulating and monitoring
all adoption activities”.
“The central focus of
all of this work will be the best interests of the children, both Irish
born and children adopted from abroad.”
The new law is designed
to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of
Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.
Mr Andrews said the new
law was designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate
procedures have been followed and that all adoptions were effected in
the best interests of the child.
Membership of the
‘Hague Club’ was intended to improve standards in intercountry
adoption and allow for adoptions between countries that were compliant
with the convention.
“However, the desire
to further improve standards should not end with Hague ratification,”
Mr Andrews said.
Solicitor and senior
lecturer in family and child law Geoffrey Shannon has been appointed to
chair the new authority.
Mr Andrews paid tribute
to the work and cooperation of the HSE in preparing for the new
HSE assistant national
director Phil Garland said: “As the statutory childcare authority the
HSE welcomes the commitment under the Hague convention to strengthening
the focus on placing the child at the centre of the adoption process in
Chief executive of Arc
Adoption, Shane Downer, said the commencement of the new Act was a
“red letter day” for all those involved in adoption.
subject to the approval of the new Authority, looks forward to helping
establish the improved infrastructure enabled by this Act, which will
improve adoption processes on behalf of children, as well as providing
enhanced assurance over what is a complex, legal and fundamentally human
Mr Downer said adoption
placements must be “child centred, and focused on helping prospective
adoptive parents prepare for, and cope with welcoming a child into their
lives and families”.
His own organisation
would seek to complete accreditation as Ireland’s first accredited
adoption mediation agency over the coming weeks. It aims to establish
programmes with “at least four countries”.
Subject to the approval
of the authority, the organisation will initially apply to work with
countries such as Bulgaria, Vietnam, Mexico, India, Brazil, Kenya and
Cambodia, among others.
“Arc will introduce a
comprehensively transparent facilitation service, and looks forward to
being subject to tight regulation by the Adoption Authority of
Ireland,” Mr Downer said.
Over 42,000 adoptions
of Irish children have taken place, and a further 5,000 children have
been adopted into Ireland, Arc said.
During the introductory
phase of the Adoption Act 2010, members of the public who have any
queries about adoption both, from a domestic and an inter-country
perspective, should contact their local HSE social work department.
© 2010 irishtimes.com
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