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QUESTION NO: 383

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Clare Daly for WRITTEN ANSWER on 25/09/2012 

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to deal with the issue of adopted persons right to access their own information with regard to their adoptions..

Clare Daly T.D.

REPLY.
It is intended that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will provide for the safeguarding and maintenance of all adoption records in the State with the Adoption Authority having responsibility for ensuring that adopted persons and birth parents have access to their records in accordance with the proposed Bill. However, because all persons have a constitutional right to privacy it is envisaged that there may be some restrictions on the information that could be made available without the consent of the parties involved. However, consideration of the policy issues in relation to all aspects of the proposed Bill is ongoing. It is intended that non-identifying information could be provided to an adopted person over 18 or to a birth parent. Non-identifying information is information by which another party could not reasonably be expected to be identified and could, for example, include the forename, religion, approximate age, occupation, birth details, interests, hobbies, educational history, family history and medical history. The release of medical information would be proportionate to the objective for which it is sought by or on behalf of an adopted person or a birth parent. 

QUESTION NO: 34

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 26/09/2012 

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the Adoption Amendment Bill will address the problems experienced by adopted persons in relation to their information rights following the 1998 Supreme Court (IOT vs B) ruling; and if not, the steps she will take to secure their information and tracing rights as a matter of urgency..

- Clare Daly

REPLY.
It is intended that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will provide for the safeguarding and maintenance of all adoption records in the State with the Adoption Authority having responsibility for ensuring that adopted persons and birth parents have access to their records in accordance with the proposed Bill. However, because all persons have a constitutional right to privacy it is envisaged that there may be some restrictions on the information that could be made available without the consent of the parties involved. However, consideration of the policy issues in relation to all aspects of the proposed Bill is ongoing. It is intended that non-identifying information could be provided to an adopted person over 18 or to a birth parent. Non-identifying information is information by which another party could not reasonably be expected to be identified and could, for example, include the forename, religion, approximate age, occupation, birth details, interests, hobbies, educational history, family history and medical history. The release of medical information would be proportionate to the objective for which it is sought by or on behalf of an adopted person or a birth parent. 

It is intended to publish this Bill in 2013. 

QUESTION NO: 382

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 25/09/2012 

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if comments she made in Topical Debates earlier this year (details supplied) will mean that upon the pending signing of an agreement on intercountry adoption between Ireland and Vietnam, Vietnamese-born children with special needs will not be afforded the full protections, safeguards and rights as set out under the terms of the Hague Convention on Protection and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D.

REPLY.
The Adoption Act, 2010, which was commenced on 1st November 2010, coincided with Ireland's formal ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The purpose of the Adoption Act, 2010, is to improve standards in both domestic and intercountry adoption and its enactment coincided with the establishment of the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI). The Adoption Authority of Ireland is an independent statutory body charged with implementing the Adoption Act, 2010. The Authority has responsibility for the direct operational implementation of legislation and Government policy. It has a quasi-judicial role and is independent in its decision-making functions.The AAI is the Central Authority with responsibility for overseeing standards in respect of the adoption process taking place within this jurisdiction. 

In considering matters relating to intercountry adoption the Authority must satisfy itself that the adoption complies with the terms and conditions of the 1993 Hague Convention, which is a co-operative agreement drawn up to allow countries to mutually support one another in protecting the best interests of children in the intercountry adoption process. It is designed in such a way as to allow for mirrored mechanisms and structures to mutually assure countries of the safety and standard of intercountry adoptions in those countries. This applies to all children in the inter country adoption process, including those with special needs.

The Adoption Act, 2010, which provides the legislative framework for adoption in Ireland, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child and to the highest possible standard. The phrase ‘in the best interests of the child’ is absolutely key in this regard. It must not be forgotten that intercountry adoption is a service for those children who cannot be raised by their birth parents or cared for in their own country. The interests of the child must always be paramount throughout the adoption process. This is best achieved through the full implementation of the highest national and international standards governing adoption practice. This is the primary concern for the Adoption Authority of Ireland in conducting its business as it relates to intercountry adoption.

Priority Questions
Adoption Services

15 May 2012 2:00 pm

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)


Question 90: To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to the his response to questions on access to and safeguarding of records of de facto illegal adoptions (details supplied), the number of such records held by the Health Service Executive; the number of cases that were identified in the audit, relating to the pre-1952 period and the number that relate to the post 1952 Act period; the number of cases believed to contravene the Adoption Act(s) that have been notified and to which appropriate authorities; when these cases were notified to these authorities and the reports she has received regarding actions taken on foot of the notification of the contravention of the Adoption Act(s). [24234/12]

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

The Deputy has asked for information on records about persons who were told or believed they had been adopted and in respect of whom there are no adoption records. It must be understood the Adoption Authority of Ireland like its predecessor, the Adoption Board, has no statutory responsibility in the matter raised but has endeavoured to assist persons affected to the extent open to it. The guidelines on information and tracing services, first issued by the Adoption Board in 2004, included acknowledgement of a practice of illegal birth registrations and offered the board’s assistance in efforts to obtain any records that might still be available. I am aware from the Adoption Authority of Ireland that, in mid-2010, the Irish Adoption Board conducted a review of information it retained of contact received from persons who had been told or believed themselves to be adopted, but where no adoption records existed, which is an extremely traumatic situation for anyone to be in. This exercise indicated 99 people who had identified themselves to the board as adopted did not have a corresponding adoption file. Around 45 of these cases related to people born after 1953 and the balance related to persons born before 1953.

I am advised that, at the specific request of the persons making a complaint, the Irish Adoption Board reported a number of such cases to the Garda, the Registrar General and the Director of Public Prosecutions by reference to possible offences under the birth registration Acts. It is my understanding that further action did not ensue having regard to available proof and the lapse of time since the events in question.

I have also made enquiries concerning the Deputy’s question about the number of such records held by the Health Service Executive. I have been informed that the HSE has not carried out a review similar to that done by the Irish Adoption Board in 2010. Obviously, the records would be more scattered if the HSE did have them. I have, however, asked the HSE to establish any relevant information in its possession and examine the matter. I am happy to correspond directly with the Deputy on this.

As I indicated in a recent reply to the Deputy, I am looking into what steps may be possible in relation to such cases in the context of ongoing work by my Department with the Attorney General’s office on the drafting of legislation with regard to information and tracing. Work is under way on the preparation of the adoption (information and tracing) Bill, in consultation with the Adoption Authority of Ireland, to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption, including where the adoption was not effected.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House.

It is intended that the Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority of Ireland to have access to records currently held by a wide range of information sources, give the authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records, and place the national contact preference register on a statutory basis. The Bill is also to provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority of Ireland having the overarching responsibility for the service.

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party) 

I realise how difficult and complicated this issue is but I am not fully sure we are advancing it as we continue to discuss it. My query is not about cases where no records exist. It is about cases where records exist but may not be in the hands of the Adoption Authority of Ireland or under the remit of the HSE. We are trying to grapple with a scenario where it has been acknowledged that adoptions have been falsely registered and that the information exists somewhere. It is a question of getting access to those records and safeguarding them. We are a long way from that. We should remind ourselves that we are talking about people’s personal identities, which is very important.

I do not accept the figure of 99 people which the Minister again quoted in her response. I believe that figure emerged from a newspaper story, that the Adoption Authority of Ireland examined only its own records and that the majority of false births that were registered, which the Minister has acknowledged, were done to arrange illegal adoptions and are, therefore, held by adoption agencies. The Adoption Authority of Ireland has refused to inspect those documents or to copy them. There needs to be an intervention from the Minister to ensure all existing records are brought together under some comprehensive remit. If the HSE rather than the Adoption Authority of Ireland is given that remit, it needs to be resourced to carry it out. It has not been to date.

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

I take the Deputy’s point. I assure her it is intended that the Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority of Ireland to have access to records currently held by a wide range of information sources, give the authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records, and place the national contact preference register on a statutory basis. The Bill will also provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority of Ireland having the overarching responsibility for the service.

The HSE is concerned about the issue of records and is taking what action it can in the meantime. We do not, at present, have a statutory situation for safeguarding the records in the way I have outlined to the Deputy. That is the intention of the legislation I will bring forward. We will have a much more organised and comprehensive approach to records. It has been too ad hoc. As the Deputy said, it clearly affects this group in particular. In effect, she is raising the number of illegal adoptions that took place.

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)

I have two supplementary questions. One relates to the timescale of the legislation. Is the Minister saying that the problem is the Adoption Authority of Ireland has been legally restricted in pursuing the matter? My understanding is that it has failed to intervene and use the powers it has to gain access to the records and inspect them.

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) 

The adoption (tracing and information) Bill is part of the legislative programme for this year. Much work has been done on it and I hope and intend to bring it forward this year.

There are no provisions regarding the retention and preservation of such records in current legislation. The Adoption Authority of Ireland has no remit in respect of such matters. We need the new legislation to deal comprehensively with the records.

QUESTION NO: 51

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for PRIORITY ANSWER on 27/09/2011 

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will consider the situation of Irish citizens (details supplied) who were illegally adopted in the 1950's, who spent decades searching for their original families, and clarify her intention regarding legislating for access to adoption records, private nursing home and private mother and baby home records, individual doctor's files, priest's files and social worker's files in order to meet their right to an identity..

- Clare Daly

Details Supplied

REPLY.

I have been advised by the Adoption Authority of Ireland that they only hold records of adoptions effected since the introduction of statutory adoption in 1952. It holds no records relating to birth registrations.

The Adoption Board commenced a preliminary examination of available records in 2010. The audit related to records retained by the Authority of contact received from persons who have been told and/or believe themselves to be adopted, in respect of whom, no adoption record exists. This indicated that 99 people who have identified themselves to the Board or Authority as adopted, do not have a corresponding adoption file. Around 50% of these relate to so-called “adoptions” prior to the introduction of the statutory adoption regime under the Adoption Act, 1952 (which was commenced on 1 January, 1953). This work has continued following the commencement of the Adoption Act 2010 – as these queries continue to arise.

The Authority intends to undertake further work to explore the full extent of the issue. The Board of the Authority will then consider possible next steps to contribute to an understanding of the issue including any advice to the Minister. It is important to note that the Authority has no statutory responsibility in respect of the matter but is extremely sensitive to the issue. Notwithstanding that, it should be noted that, in a number of individual cases, where the facts have been available to the Board or the Authority, it has advised the appropriate authorities in respect of any activities which it believed contravened the Adoption Act(s) for the relevant period.

The drafting of legislation with regard to Information and Tracing is a priority of mine. Work is underway in relation to the preparation of the Bill, in consultation with the Adoption Authority, to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption. It is intended that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority to have access to records currently held by a wide range of Information Services, give the Authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records and place the National Contact Preference Register on a statutory basis. The Bill will also provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority having the overarching responsibility for the service. I intend to take this legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas in due course.

Written answers
Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)

Question 447: To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the legislative proposals put forward by the Adoption Rights Alliance, including their recommendation to change current legislation to grant adopted persons automatic access to their birth certificates and all files, records, documents and papers on their origins, family histories and early care and medical records; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24442/11]

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

The drafting of legislation with regard to Information and Tracing is a priority of mine and proposals such as those raised by the Adoption Alliance are being considered in the drafting process. The Heads of the Bill are currently being drafted, in consultation with the Adoption Authority. The aim is to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption. This is a complex area involving the balancing of rights and as such must be dealt with in a careful manner. I intend to take this legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas in due course.

Written answers
Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Department of Health
Adoption Services

Ann Ferris (Wicklow, Labour)

Question 808: To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if all adoption files from the Sacred Heart Convent at Bessborough in Cork have been transferred to the Health Service Executive; if the HSE has found suitable accommodation for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24015/11]

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

I am aware of the difficulties around the operation of adoption information and tracing services at the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Bessborough. Negotiations have taken place between my Department, the Health Service Executive and the Order and this matter has been resolved. The HSE has agreed to take over the management of the adoption files of the Sacred Heart Adoption Society located in Bessborough, Blackrock, Co. Cork. It is my understanding that the HSE are examining the issue of the transfer of files and their storage.

Written answers
Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Department of Health
Adoption Services

Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)

Question 790: To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if there is a specific general policy in place whereby the Health Service Executive is obliged to facilitate access to the information contained in adoption records after the adopted persons have reached adulthood; the measures or procedures that are currently in place to facilitate such access; her plans to create a centralised records archive for adoption files in order that those who are the subject of such records may more easily access information pertaining to their cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22944/11]

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

The drafting of legislation with regard to Information and Tracing is a priority of mine. Work is underway in relation to the preparation of the Bill, in consultation with the Adoption Authority, to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption. I intend to take this legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas in due course.

The National Adoption Contact Register was established in 2005 to assist adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information or state their contact preferences. They decide, through a range of information and contact options, how they wish to proceed. Already 440 matches have been made on the Register representing over 900 individuals who have now received a service. The operation of the Register was reviewed in 2007 and a major upgrading of it has just been completed.

The then Adoption Board, together with the adoption societies, the HSE and the adoption support groups, developed the “Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service”. This was published in November 2007 and sets standards and provides guidance and advice for information and tracing services providers nationally.

The issue of a centralised register is not currently under active consideration but such a development may receive attention in the context of the drafting of the legislation referred to above.

Department of Health
Adoption Services


21 Jul 2011

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)

Question 595: To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will seek to establish the existence and whereabouts of files such as medical and social work files pertaining to the illegal adoption in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21568/11]

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

2057The Information and Tracing Unit in the Adoption Board provides an advice and referral service for those seeking to trace or to obtain medical or personal information. This unit provides services directly to adoptees, natural mothers and birth families. It also works closely with the registered adoption societies and the HSE nationwide information and tracing services. Improvements to this service have been effected by the computerisation of the unique adoption files held by the Board.

The National Adoption Contact Register was established in 2005 to assist adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information or state their contact preferences. They decide, through a range of information and contact options, how they wish to proceed. Already 440 matches have been made on the Register representing over 900 individuals who have now received a service. The operation of the Register was reviewed in 2007 and a major upgrading of it has just been completed.

The Adoption Board, together with the societies, the HSE and the support groups, developed the “Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service”. This was published in November 2007 and sets standards and provides guidance and advice for information and tracing services providers nationally. The standardised Framework is currently being piloted nationally. In relation to Information and Tracing for persons adopted from abroad, the Adoption Board intends to undertake a consultation process with interested parties to determine how best to address the needs of those adopted from abroad.

Legislation to provide for information and tracing is in preparation within my department and is a priority. This is a sensitive and complex area, and it will be necessary for the legislation to balance the constitutional rights of mothers whose children were adopted with those of adopted people seeking to trace their birth families.
 

Written answers Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Department of Social Protection 

Registration of Births

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)

Question 300: To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will investigate the illegal birth registrations which allegedly took place in 42 mother and baby homes which were closed in 1972. [15052/11]

Joan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)

Any suspected illegality in relation to the registration of births should be reported to An Garda Síochána, as there is a number of offences provided for under Section 69 of the Civil Registration Act 2004. In particular, I would draw the Deputy’s attention to section 69(3) which provides that a person who gives to a registrar particulars or information which he or she knows to be false or misleading is guilty of an offence. A person guilty of an offence under subsection (3) of section 69 shall be liable (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both, or (b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

The position in relation to an investigation is that the Registrar General has powers of enquiry under section 65 of the Civil Registration Act 2004. Section 65 provides that the Registrar General may conduct enquiries to ascertain if a birth has occurred and if it has, whether it is registered and if it is registered, whether it is registered correctly. If the Deputy has information in relation to a specific birth, the matter should be referred to the Registrar General for consideration under these provisions. I would point out that, while the Registrar General has powers to investigate specific events which come to his attention, he does not have a general power of investigation under the Civil Registration Act 2004.

Written answers Thursday, 2 June 2011

Department of Health 
Civil Registration Service

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)

Question 133: To ask the Minister for Health and Children if he will investigate the situation whereby the 42 mother and baby homes which were allegedly involved in illegal or informal adoptions and closed in 1972 when the Health Act came into being claim to have no records for any of the women and children in their care; if he will seek to establish the existence and whereabouts of files such as medical and social work files pertaining to the persons involved and make them available to them, thus potentially enabling them to trace their biological families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13985/11]

James Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)

The issues raised by the Deputy relate to practices that were private arrangements which involved the birth of a child being registered as the child of those persons or families that took the child, rather than of the birth mother. The issuing of birth certificates is a matter for the Department of Social Protection, and suspected irregularities should be investigated by that Department. The scale of such illegal birth registrations is unknown.
The issue of historical documentation and records, where such information ever existed, was a matter for these private institutions. My understanding is that very little documentation existed, and where it did, the nature and secretiveness of the process means that any correlation of data is extremely difficult.

Written answers Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Department of Health and Children
Adoption Services


Alan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)

Question 185: To ask the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the long waiting lists encountered by adult adopted children tracing birth parents through the Health Service Executive, with such long lists resulting in an inordinate delay in the processing of such applications; the numbers of such adoptive persons whose applications for tracing services are waiting to be processed; the steps being taken to resolve the backlog; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16480/10]

Barry Andrews (Minister of State with special responsibility for Children and Young People, Department of Health and Children; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide details on waiting times for tracing services processed through the HSE. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

The Information and Tracing Unit in the Adoption Board provides an advice and referral service for those seeking to trace or to obtain medical or personal information. This unit provides services directly to adoptees, natural mothers and birth families. It also works closely with the registered adoption societies and the HSE nationwide information and tracing services. Improvements to this service have been effected by the computerisation of the unique adoption files held by the Board.

The National Adoption Contact Register was established in 2005 to assist adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information or state their contact preferences. They decide, through a range of information and contact options, how they wish to proceed. Already 440 matches have been made on the Register representing over 900 individuals who have now received a service. The operation of the Register was reviewed in 2007 and a major upgrading of it has just been completed.

The Adoption Board, together with the societies, the HSE and the support groups, developed the “Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service”. This was published in November 2007 and sets standards and provides guidance and advice for information and tracing services providers nationally. The standardised Framework is currently being piloted nationally. In relation to Information and Tracing for persons adopted from abroad, the Adoption Board intends to undertake a consultation process with interested parties to determine how best to address the needs of those adopted from abroad.

Registration of domestic adoptions is governed by Section 22 of the Adoption Act 1952. Under that provision, an tÁrd Chláraitheoir (Registrar General) is required to maintain a register of domestic adoptions (i.e. adoptions effected in Ireland, regardless of where the adopted person was born). The register is called the Adopted Children Register. An index to the register is maintained and can be searched by any person. Any person may obtain a copy of any entry in the register. The legislation also provides for an index linking the birth entry in the register of births (in the case of an Irish-born adopted person) with the entry in the Adopted Children Register. Information from this index may not be given to any person except by order of a court or the Adoption Board. I am aware that the treatment of adopted persons in this regard differs from the rest of the population but consideration of this issue must take place in the context of the complex legal, ethical and constitutional issues arising from the need to fairly balance the rights of all parties to the adoption process.

Parliamentary Questions submitted by Joan Burton TD (Lab) on behalf of Adoption Rights Alliance:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2010-03-02.826.0&s
QUESTION NOS:  186 to 188 
  

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. Andrews) 

by Deputy Joan Burton 

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 02/03/2010   

  
To ask the Minister for Health and Children the reason the standardised framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service document is no longer available for download from the Adoption Board website; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

- Joan Burton

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010.

To ask the Minister for Health and Children her plans to ensure the adoption agencies comply with the standards set out in the Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service without legislating for such compliance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

- Joan Burton

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010.

To ask the Minister for Health and Children her plans to legislate for an adoption information and tracing service that will be compliant with the Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

- Joan Burton

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010. 
  
REPLY. 

The Information and Tracing Unit in the Adoption Board provides an advice and referral service for those seeking to trace or to obtain medical or personal information. This unit provides services directly to adoptees, natural mothers and birth families.  It also works closely with the registered adoption societies and the HSE national information and tracing services.  Improvements to this service have been effected by the computerisation of the unique adoption files held by the Board. In addition, the National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR) is designed to assist adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information, or to state their contact preferences. 

The Adoption Board, together with adoption societies, the HSE and support groups, developed the “Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service”.  This Framework, published in November 2007, sets standards and provides guidance and advice for information and tracing service providers nationally. There is no statutory basis for the framework which is being implemented on a consensus basis. 

My Office is advised by the Adoption Board that the Framework is currently being reviewed and has been temporarily removed from the Board's website.  However, the documentation set out in the Framework has been widely disseminated to societies, support groups and other interested parties and will continue to be made available to anyone contacting the Board to seek a copy. The Framework will again be made available through the Adoption Board website once the review is complete. 

In overall terms it is considered that there is an effective administrative system in place to deal with the issue of information and tracing. Consequently, the current Adoption Bill, 2009 does not make specific provisions in this regard.

“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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