Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 06 July, 2006

Written Answers. - Inter-Country Adoptions.

[1429] Mr. Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in processing inter-country adoption applications in here; the further reason there is little accountability in the system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27883/06]

  Mr. B. Lenihan: The Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

The process of assessment of applicants for inter-country assessment is set out in a Framework for Inter-country Adoption Assessment introduced in 1999 to streamline assessments and to provide a transparent system centred on the child’s best interests. Inter-country Adoption applications are received by and assessed by the Health Service Executive and PACT, who are a recognised adoption agency. Assessment involves a number of stages and would generally include an initial assessment, a considerable level of education/preparation work (including an exploration with prospective adoptive parents of the challenges and issues that are likely to arise when undertaking adoption) and a home study assessment. The length of the assessment process can vary between applicants depending on the particular circumstances of each case, bearing in mind at all times the best interests of the child. Applicants found to be suitable to be adoptive parents are granted a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability by the Adoption Board, and may then pursue the adoption of a child abroad with the selected sending country.