people wait 2½ years to see social workers
SMYTH Social Affairs Correspondent
Times, Sat, Apr 17,
PEOPLE can face delays of up to 2½ years before they can get an
appointment with a social worker to begin tracing their natural parents
due to staff shortages and a lack of funding.
parents hoping to trace the 42,000 children put up for adoption in
Ireland since 1952 can also face similar delays when they approach
private adoption agencies or the HSE to start a trace.
longest waiting list identified by The Irish Times is at the Cunamh
adoption agency, formerly known as the Catholic Protection and Rescue
Society of Ireland. People currently have to wait up to 2½ years for an
appointment to begin tracing their parent or adopted children.
waiting list at St Catherine’s Adoption Society in Clare is 18 months,
while delays of up to two years are expected for people applying to the
HSE in Cork.
HSE local area health offices such as Wicklow do not even have a single
social worker dedicated to information and tracing at the moment. Other
HSE health offices, such as Mayo and Carlow, face significant demand for
services, which has pushed waiting times out to a year and eight months
the Republic adopted people have no legal entitlement to their birth
certificate or information in their adoption file, which would help them
to trace their natural parents. However, they can apply to their
adoption agency to help them find parents and relatives.
level of service offered by different adoption agencies varies
considerably across the State.
am very concerned waiting times are increasing. We know of cases where
people have died while still on waiting lists hoping to contact
relatives,” said Bernie Harold, chairwoman of the Natural Parents
Network of Ireland – a group that supports parents who have lost
children to adoption.
Harold said one of the biggest problems was that the Government has not
put information and tracing on a statutory footing in the new Adoption
Bill. “This means it is not given the same priority as other adoption
services, including assessing parents who want to adopt children,” she
HSE has the equivalent of 33 full-time posts dedicated to providing
information and tracing services. But not all of the local HSE health
offices have a social worker due to staff shortages and resources. For
example the single social worker dedicated to tracing in Wicklow left
her post in August 2009 and has not been replaced due to the public
service recruitment embargo, according to e-mails from the Adoption
Board seen by The Irish Times .
Waterstone, HSE director of childcare services, said adoption services
fall within the unit dealing with welfare of children and it was a
question of competing resources.
statute we have to prioritise the welfare of children and we also have
to prioritise the use of resources. The priority must be children
immediately at risk,” he said.
Gallagher, chairwoman of the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies, said
there was a need for new legislation to be enacted to provide adopted
people with a statutory right to information and tracing services.
right exists in Northern Ireland and Britain. But it is not included in
the Government’s new Adoption Bill,” she added.
the adoption agency formerly called the Catholic Protection and Rescue
Society of Ireland, said yesterday it had a “big resources problem”
relating to information and tracing services.
Cunamh spokeswoman said it is the biggest Irish adoption agency handling
2010 The Irish Times
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