Press Release

Hanafin welcomes report on progress in intercounty adoption services

The Government is responding to the huge increase in interest in Inter-Country Adoption by increased investment in staffing, information and assessment procedures.

Speaking at the launch of new information booklets for prospective adoptive parents, Minister of State Mary Hanafin T.D. said today (July 27th, 2000) that there are currently 1,056 couples awaiting assessment for inter-country adoption, many of whom have had to experience very long waiting times.

“In order to speed up the process, the Government has already allocated extra funds for the employment of social workers who carry out assessments. The effect of this in the Eastern Regional Health Authority area, where the lists are longest, will be to increase the number of social workers from 5.5 to 18,” explained Minister Hanafin.

However, Minister Hanafin said that there have been difficulties in recruitment in this area to date, and she strongly urged qualified social workers not currently in the service to consider re-entering.

“This service is ideally suited to family friendly working arrangements – given the shortages in social work numbers in the service generally, this may be an opportunity for social workers, not currently employed in the health service, to re-enter the workforce on a flexible basis.”

Minister Hanafin also launched the report of the group established to oversee the implementation of ‘Towards a Standardised Framework of Inter-country Adoption’. This group was set up in response to concerns regarding both the delay in obtaining assessments and the assessments themselves.

“The implementation group’s report shows that there has been significant progress in all areas towards full implementation of the standardised framework procedures,” the Minister said.

“The implementation of standard procedures is geared to ensuring that couples throughout Ireland receive a speedy and sympathetic assessment, thus guaranteeing that the eventual adoption is in the best interest of the child and respectful of the needs of prospective parents,” assured Minister Hanafin.

“A new guide for practitioners will now be distributed to health board social work adoption teams. I am committed to ensuring that couples who wish to adopt a child from another country are facilitated in that process, and to add to the £500,000 already allocated this year, the Government is now adding an extra £200,000,” she added.