Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - 15 February, 1996
Written Answers. - Adoption Board Matters.
Ms F. Fitzgerald Ms F. Fitzgerald
 71. Ms F. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Health if he has satisfied himself that the Adoption Board has adequate facilities in view of the increasing interest in foreign adoptions; and his views on whether the criteria for adoption selection in this country are in need of review. [3414/96]
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie) Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie)
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Currie): The Adoption Act, 1991, provides a statutory framework for the regulation and recognition of foreign adoptions. The Adoption Board has a central role in the administration of the legislation. To enable the board to cope with the additional work arising from the processing of applications relating to foreign adoptions, the 1991 Act provided for an increase in the membership of the board from seven to nine members. Additional administrative staff have also been assigned to the board since 1991.
As regards the criteria for adoption selection in this country, I am not aware that these are in need of review. Irish residents wishing to adopt a child here or abroad must undergo a detailed assessment of their general suitability. These assessments, which are carried out by the adoption agencies, provide an important safeguard for the welfare of the child.
Eligibility to adopt is determined by reference to the legal requirements laid down in the Adoption Acts. In this context, I would point out that section 10 of the 1991 Act extended the categories of persons eligible to adopt and introduced a standard minimum age for adopting parents. These measures were specifically designed to ensure greater flexibility in our legal adoption system.
Dáil Éireann 461 Written Answers. Adoption Board Matters.