Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (118)

Shane Ross

Ceist:

118. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the changes that have been made to adoption legislation during the course of this Government’s lifespan. [20868/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

In order to resolve the difficulties that Irish families who were in the process of adopting from Russia experienced due to changes in Russian adoption legislation that took place in July 2013, the Government introduced, and the Oireachtas approved, the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013. The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013 extends the period of declarations of eligibility and suitability which apply to the Russian Federation for one year to 31 October 2014 for those prospective adoptive parents who held such declarations on 31 October 2013.

Work is also continuing in relation to the preparation of the Heads of Bill of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill. My view is that persons affected by adoption should be provided with a statutory right to as much information as possible within permissible Constitutional boundaries. I hope to be in a position to seek Government approval to publish the Heads of Bill as soon as possible. Subsequent consideration by the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee will provide an opportunity to tease out the relevant considerations in detail and to hear the views of interested parties.

In addition, I am conscious that issues have arisen in relation to the operation of the Adoption Act, 2010, since its enactment. There are a number of general policy questions around the nature of our adoption regime and I consider it timely to consider a review of adoption. Given the range and complexity of the issues this will require scoping and preliminary examination after which decisions will be made on the extent and time scale for the review to see if proposals for legislative change emerge from this review or the nature of such proposals. Based upon the many domestic and international legal aspects to adoption the issue of further legislative development will certainly be considered. This review will inform future operational and legislative considerations regarding the Adoption Act, 2010. For the present, however, my legislative priority in the area of adoption is the preparation of information and tracing legislation.

Subject to finalisation of matters related to the Children’s Referendum, I intend to introduce the Adoption (Amendment) Bill to the House. This will be along the lines of the General Scheme of Adoption (Amendment) Bill which I published in order to inform consideration of the proposed Constitutional amendment on children.