The Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) says it granted 79 domestic adoption orders last year, with the majority of these given to step-parents.
21 were for children in long-term foster care, while six related to infants placed for adoption in Ireland, according to the authority’s annual report.
The AAI said the increase in orders granted to step-parents was due to the impact of provisions in the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017.
This allows a step-parent to adopt their partner’s child while allowing that partner to retain parental rights without also having to apply to adopt.
The authority’s chief executive Patricia Carey also told RTÉ that it had granted 20 adoption orders remotely via Zoom during COVID-19 restrictions this year. The body has previously said that it is committed to ensuring there is no delay in processing adoption applications due to the pandemic.
The AAI report also said it received 560 applications to the National Adoption Contact Preference Register – the voluntary register that mediates contact between adoptees and birth relatives. The total number of entries was over 14,500 by the end of 2019.
The AAI is an independent, quasi-judicial body under the aegis of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. It was set up in 2010 under the Adoption Act 2010. It is also the central authority for inter-country adoption in Ireland.
Its annual report says it recognised 33 inter-country adoptions last year, 18 of them from Vietnam. In total, 48 declarations of eligibility and suitability were granted to applicants seeking to adopt abroad last year.