Adoption reform bill set to pass in the Dáil

It will ensure that all children for adoption are treated equally

Adoption reform bill set to pass in the Dáil

File photo dated of a mother holding the hand of a new baby | Image: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

It is hoped that a bill to allow children to be adopted by their foster parents will be passed in the Dáil today.

The Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 will bring some of the policy changes into effect from the 2012 children's rights referendum.

The legislation will ensure that all children being considered for adoption are treated equally, regardless of the marital status of their parents.

It will also allow children to be adopted by their foster carers, where they have cared for the child for at least 18 months.

It will enable civil partners and co-habitees to adopt - while also enabling married parents to voluntarily place a child for adoption.

June Tinsley is head of advocacy at children's charity Barnardos. She says the new bill will simplify the entire process.

"Every case of adoption is different so having a flexible system responsive to the needs of the child is crucial.

"That is why we particularly welcome the latest amendments proposed by Senator Alice Mary Higgins and Senator Lynn Ruane which guarantee a legal review and public consultation on the potential introduction of open or semi-open adoption in Ireland.

"The current system employs a very closed approach whereby all contact with the birth family is severed upon completing adoption but is this always in the best interests of the child?

"Also in many cases, as can be seen from previous generations, this creates unnecessary challenges for adopted people who wish to gather crucial information about their own identity and past."