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Public consultation on open adoption

13 May 2019 / legislation Print

Public consultation on open or semi-open adoption

A public and stakeholder consultation on open or semi-open adoption has begun.

Children and Youth Affairs minister Katharine Zappone committed to the review during the passage of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017.

The Department is today hosting an open policy debate to which key stakeholders, including adoption experts, service providers and groups representing children’s rights and perspectives, are invited. 

Until early June, interested parties will be able to fill out a questionnaire available on the Department’s website.

As well as seeking information and opinions in relation to a number of specific areas, the questionnaire provides space for individuals and organisations to submit their general views on open and semi-open adoption.

Constitutional issues

The review began in May 2018 and will take account of factors including the legal and constitutional issues in relation to the status of the family under the Constitution, the impact of the referendum on children’s rights held in 2012 and international evidence regarding outcomes for children and families. 

The Minister said “Understandings of what is meant by open or semi-open adoption vary but these terms usually refer to arrangements for information sharing between adoptive and birth families as well as an option for contact.

“This is a complex and sensitive issue.  As we are in the early stages of having this discussion in Ireland, it is vital that we gain the views of those affected by adoption as well as other key stakeholders in order to find out what works best for children and families.”

Significant event

“Adoption is a hugely significant event in the life of a child,” Zappone said.

 “When considering any proposed change to adoption policy, we must be guided by what is in the child’s best interests.”

In January of last year, leading British judge Lord Justice Peter Jackson questioned whether the ancient institution of adoption could survive in a closed manner in the internet age.


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