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Adoption Services.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 June 2004

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Ceisteanna (313)

John Gormley

Ceist:

364 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason that some persons have waited as long as four years for a decision from the Adoption Board before being refused on the grounds of age; the details of the age criteria which apply; and if he will undertake a full examination of the methods of the Adoption Board with a view to making significant changes to procedures to avoid unnecessary delays which may cause hurt for future prospective parents. [17290/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health and Children)

Assessments for inter-country and domestic adoptions are carried out by health boards or by registered adoption societies. At the outset of the process, applicants are placed on a health board or adoption society waiting list for assessment. The waiting list for assessment varies throughout the country. The assessment process itself involves a number of stages and would generally include an initial assessment, a considerable level of education or preparation work, including an exploration with prospective adoptive parents of the challenges and issues likely to arise when undertaking adoption, and a home study assessment. The purpose of the assessment process is to determine whether applicants are suitable to adopt a child, and the length of the process can vary between applicants, depending on the particular circumstances of each case, bearing in mind at all times the best interests of the child.

An applicant's file is sent to the Adoption Board when the process is nearing finalisation. While an applicant would not wait for four years for a decision from the Adoption Board, in some cases the whole process from initial application to the Adoption Board making its decision may take that long.

While there are no legal provisions regarding upper age limits for either domestic or inter-country adoption, an applicant's age may be taken into consideration in the context of the assessment as one of a number of factors determining the applicant's capacity to look after the child throughout his or her childhood and to maintain an ongoing and meaningful relationship with the child.

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