Since the commencement of the Adoption Act, 2010, in November 2010 three agencies have been accredited by the Adoption Authority to facilitate intercountry adoptions: ARC, Family Bridge Adoptions and Helping Hands Mediation Agency. To date there have been no adoptions entered on the register of intercountry adoptions in relation to these agencies. The Adoption Authority advises that ARC expects to receive the first referrals from Bulgaria shortly and Helping Hands hopes to commence its intercountry adoption programme with Vietnam in the coming months.
In 2011 ARC was awarded €230,000 in National Lottery Funding from my Department. The HSE has not funded ARC to date. Family Bridge Adoption has not received any State funding to date.
Helping Hands received €5,000 in National Lottery Funding from my Department earlier this year to cover costs associated with travel required to conclude the necessary accreditation process. In addition, the HSE has funded Helping Hands to the order of €280,000 for 2010, €205,170 for 2011 and €190,000 for 2012 .
A number of issues in relation to accredited agencies are being examined by my Department in consultation with the Adoption Authority and the HSE; however, no decision in relation to future funding of accredited agencies has been made.