Long overdue Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill contains crucial provisions
The publication of the revised Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2015 is a crucial step towards better realising the rights of adopted people, said Barnardos today. The children’s charity particularly commends the provisions which strengthen an adopted people’s right to identity.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos, said, “We welcome many aspects of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill published today which is very long overdue. As a long-term provider of confidential post adoption services, Barnardos is particularly pleased to see in this Bill the unequivocal right of an adopted person to their original birth certificate.
“Other welcome provisions include the widening of the scope of the Bill to include those ‘de facto’ adopted, e.g. long term family care arrangement where no adoption order was effected and illegal adoptions that were common in the past. It will cover retrospective, current and future adoptions.
“It is clear the statutory protections contained in this Bill must be available to anyone who needs them and cost should never be a barrier, so it is welcome the revised Bill states administrative bills will be covered by the State.”
Christine Hennessey, Project Leader with Barnardos’ Post Adoption said, “However we remain deeply concerned by the proposed introduction of a Statutory Declaration whereby the adopted person would sign a legal waiver promising not to contact a birth parent who has made their preference clear. Not only is it an extremely heavy-handed approach, we would also question its effectiveness and application in practice. Barnardos would instead recommend an adopted person be offered an individual or group preparation session similar to the system used in the UK when they revised their laws in 1976. Such an approach is more holistic, informative and supportive.
“We are also concerned about the administrative challenges that may arise as a result of the replacement of the existing National Adoption Contact Preference Register with the new Register of Adoption Contact Enquiries.
“While the Adoption Authority of Ireland will have responsibility for managing and safeguarding records, we know the successful implementation of the Bill is contingent on a greater availability of services and staff within Tusla. Presently, the continued underfunding of Tusla means lengthy waiting lists in accessing information and tracing services are common. Tusla and the accredited adoption agencies must be appropriately resourced to ensure the effective timely enactment of this legislation. Adopted people have already waited too long.