Consultation launched on the introduction of Open or Semi-Open Adoption in Ireland

Consultation launched on the introduction of Open or Semi-Open Adoption in Ireland

The Minister of Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has launched a public and stakeholder consultation process on the potential introduction of open or semi-open adoption in Ireland.  During the passage of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 through the Seanad, the Minister accepted an amendment which provided for a review and public consultation to be undertaken on this issue.

Members of the public and stakeholders invited to complete online questionnaire by June 7th

The review, initiated by the Minister in May 2018, will take account of a number of factors including the legal and constitutional issues in relation to the status of the family under the Constitution, the impact of the referendum on children’s rights held in 2012 and international evidence regarding outcomes for children and families.

The Minister said, “Understandings of what is meant by open or semi-open adoption vary but these terms usually refer to arrangements for information sharing between adoptive and birth families as well as an option for contact. This is a complex and sensitive issue.  As we are in the early stages of having this discussion in Ireland, it is vital that we gain the views of those affected by adoption as well as other key stakeholders in order to find out what works best for children and families.”From now until early June, interested parties and members of the public will be able to fill out a questionnaire available on the Department’s website. As well as seeking information and opinions in relation to a number of specific areas, the questionnaire provides space for individuals and organisations to submit their general views on open and semi-open adoption.

An Open Policy Debate involving key stakeholders to be held by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on May 13th

On May 13th, the Department will also host an Open Policy Debate to which key stakeholders, including adoption experts, service providers and groups representing children’s rights and perspectives, will be invited.

 “Adoption is a hugely significant event in the life of a child,”the Minister concluded. ‘‘When considering any proposed change to adoption policy, we must be guided by what is in the child’s best interests.”