Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
I am taking a positive and pro-active approach to introduce measures to address the provision of a robust legal and operational services in the realm of information and tracing for those affected by adoption.
In this context I have instigated the following policy and operational developments:
1)Development of an Adoption (Information and Tracing) General Scheme and Heads of Bill which will provide for statutory access to adoption records and birth information. This work is well under way. The Heads will provide access to records for birth parents and adopted persons in so far as is possible in line with legal advices. I am proposing as progressive an approach as is possible within the significant legal and operational complexities which arise in giving effect to this objective.
The proposed legislation will provide for, inter alia,
- Placing the National Adoption Contact Preference Register on a statutory basis
- Arranging for the management of Adoption Records
- Setting out the information to be provided and circumstances in which it can be provided both for retrospective and prospective adoptions
- Providing for Information and Tracing Supports Services.
It is my intention to have the General Scheme and Heads of Bill finalised on this basis as soon as possible and submitted for the consideration of Government, in advance of referral to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. This will be the subject of consultation with all relevant Government Departments in advance.
2)In parallel, I have requested officials to commence an examination of operational arrangements for the preservation of, and access to, adoption records both to secure existing service provision and to make ready for any proposed new legislation.