Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 Set to Pass in Dail
Barnardos sincerely hopes the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 will be finally passed by the Dail today. This Bill, once commenced, will take a crucial step towards advancing children’s rights in Ireland that were promised by the passage of the Children’s Rights Referendum.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said “It has been a long time coming since the 2012 Referendum but finally this Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 will bring some of the policy changes into effect. This Bill puts the best interests of children at the heart of the adoption process and ensures that children’s voices and views are heard and given due weight.
“Practically, the Bill ensures that all children being considered for adoption are treated equally, regardless of the marital status of their parents. It offers stability and security to children in long term foster care arrangements by permitting that children to be adopted by their foster carers where they have cared for the child for at least 18 months and where that child's parents have failed in their parental duty towards them for a continuous period of not less than 36 months. It enables civil partners and cohabitees to adopt while also enabling married parents to voluntarily place a child for adoption. It also simplifies the process of step-parent adoption of a child.
“Every case of adoption is different so having a flexible system responsive to the needs of the child is crucial. That is why we particularly welcome the latest amendments proposed by Senator Alice Mary Higgins and Senator Lynn Ruane which guarantee a legal review and public consultation on the potential introduction of open or semi-open adoption in Ireland. The current system employs a very closed approach whereby all contact with the birth family is severed upon completing adoption but is this always in the best interests of the child? Also in many cases, as can be seen from previous generations, this creates unnecessary challenges for adopted people who wish to gather crucial information about their own identity and past.”