I have contacted the South Eastern Health Board in relation to this application for an assessment for inter-country adoption. I understand the couple have been on the waiting list since January 2000 and that the assessment is due to commence around March/April 2001, subject to the assessments immediately before this couple's assessment being completed within the expected timescale and the staffing complement remaining as is. I understand the couple have been in touch with the regional adoption service in the South Eastern Health Board in the last two weeks and that they have been advised of the expected date for commencement of assessment.
In recent years there has been a large increase in the number of applications for assessment received by the South Eastern Health Board. As the Deputy will see from the following table the number of applications more than doubled between 1998 and 1999 and for the first half of this year the number of applications received is greater than the number received in the whole of 1999.
Number of applications for inter-country adoption assessment received by the South Eastern Health Board since 1998