Legislation to allow for an excavation at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam has passed through the Oireachtas.
The Institutional Burials Bill has been sent to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.
This bill provides a basis for a "full-scale forensic excavation, recovery and analysis of the children’s remains" at the site.
It will also enable a DNA-based identification programme to help answer questions affected families may have about their loved ones.
Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman says this will ensure the children are finally granted a dignified burial.
"The Institutional Burials Bill will allow us, at long last, to afford the children interred in Tuam a dignified and respectful burial.
"The Government has committed to a full-scale forensic excavation of the site and this legislation is essential to delivering on that.
"My sincere hope is that this will finally bring some form of solace and closure to the families and survivors who have been so deeply affected by this abhorrent situation."
Minister O'Gorman says he plans to move ahead with the legislation immediately.
Once approved, an Office of the Tuam Director of Authorised Interventions will be set up.
A director will then be appointed with a view to starting excavations as soon as possible.
Research published by Catherine Corless in 2014 revealed hundreds of babies and toddlers had been buried in unmarked graves at the site.
The home operated between 1925 and 1961 in the Galway town.