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Children’s minister denies adoption limbo

Sunday Business Post, 19 December 2010  By Susan Mitchell

Minister for Children Barry Andrews has dismissed opposition claims that prospective adopters had been left in limbo due to a flaw in new legislation.

Alan Shatter, Fine Gael justice spokesperson, said the failure to license existing bodies providing adoption services meant people who were already being assessed for adoption could be forced back to have a new assessment, started by a different agency and have the process unnecessarily prolonged. 

Andrews denied this was the case saying the new accredited bodies to vet people and facilitate adoptions would be registered by early next month.

He added that in cases where existing organisations ceased to operate the same service the Health Service Executive (HSE) was ‘‘willing and able to provide that service’’.

Under the Adoption Act 2010, provision is made for ‘accredited bodies’ to be registered with and licensed by the new Adoption Authority. It is these bodies, together with the HSE, that are authorised to provide adoption services including the assessment of peoples suitability to adopt.

Shatter said some of his constituents who were being assessed for adoption for around a year had been told by the Adoption Society that their assessment could no longer be processed.

Shatter said they were also told they would have to start all over again with a new body once it was accredited by the Adoption Authority.

Shatter claimed the minister for children had ‘‘failed to make provision in the new legislation to ensure adequate protection for those in the middle of the adoption assessment process following the Adoption Act 2010 coming into force’’.

In a statement, the minister’s of f ice said the Adoption Authority advertised in November seeking expressions of interests. The date for receipt of applications was December 13 and the Authority was now reviewing the applications, the department said.

It said the Authority expect to be issuing approvals in January, and accredited bodies would then be in a position to provide services. Shatter said there was ‘‘huge confusion’’.

‘‘That message is simply not being communicated to prospective adopters," he said.

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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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