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Press Release

Minister Zappone publishes report on the Potential Introduction of Open or Semi-Open Adoption in Ireland

Published: 6 November 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs
  • arrangements for open or semi-open adoption involve post-adoption contact, direct or indirect, between members of the birth and adoptive families of adopted children under 18
  • post-adoption contact may involve a range of types of communication, such as the exchange of letters, information or items through a social worker or direct face-to-face meetings
  • report acknowledges importance of appropriate open communication with the adopted child in relation to their birth family history and adoption

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has today laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas a report on a review and consultation on the potential introduction of open or semi-open adoption in Ireland. Minister Zappone committed to undertaking this review and consultation under the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017.

Arrangements for open or semi-open adoption involve post-adoption contact, direct or indirect, between members of the birth and adoptive families of adopted children under 18. Post-adoption contact may involve a range of types of communication, such as the exchange of letters, information or items through a social worker or direct face-to-face meetings between members of the adoptive and birth families, including the adopted child.

The review included policy and legal analysis and a consideration of current operational practices. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs also consulted with key stakeholders and members of the public about their views on open and semi-open adoption, holding an Open Policy Debate on 13 May 2019 and an online public consultation which ran from 9 May until 14 June 2019.

International experience of open and semi-open adoption and available research evidence regarding outcomes for children were also carefully considered.

The final report acknowledges the importance of appropriate open communication with the adopted child in relation to their birth family history and adoption. It recommends a number of measures to support families who wish to enter into voluntary post-adoption contact arrangements.

Minister Zappone has committed to implementing the recommendations, in consultation with the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla, as well as other relevant stakeholders.

Minister Zappone commented:

“The matter of open and semi-open adoption is a complex and sensitive one. What we have learned above all is that decisions in this area must be made on a case-by-case basis. Arrangements work best where everyone has a similar understanding about what will most benefit the child, where a flexible approach is taken and where families have access to guidance and supports when challenges arise.”

The Minister continued:

“The measures recommended in this report will ensure that policy, legislation and practice in relation to open adoption is centred on the best interests of the individual child."

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

Final report on the Potential Introduction of Open or Semi-Open Adoption in Ireland

The review and consultation in this report focused on policy and legislation specifically in relation to adopted children under 18 and their families. Legislation in relation to information and tracing services for adopted adults and other relevant persons is being progressed separately by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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