Question to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average length of time for approval of persons seeking an intercountry adoption; the measures which have been taken to reduce this period and any other planned reforms to facilitate a faster processing of applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Deputy Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 11/12/2012
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald):
The HSE has advised that waiting times for intercountry adoption assessments for declarations of suitability and eligibility to adopt have reduced considerably across the country. According to the HSE the waiting time for assessments varies around the country and, in general, the maximum waiting time is 12 months.
The Adoption Authority informs me that the waiting times between the sending of an adoption application pack and the actual completion of an adoption in sending countries may vary greatly and may extend to as much as 3 years or more in some cases. The Adoption Authority has no influence with regard to the waiting times involved in these sending countries.
A large number of declarations are currently valid and several hundred are issued by the Authority each year. The Adoption Authority has been proactive in developing relationships with its Hague counterparts in a number of jurisdictions. The building of such relationships will help to bring greater clarity to the intercountry adoption process generally, including the timescales involved for adopting from different countries. However, the reality is that the landscape of intercountry adoption is changing and for a variety of reasons the number of referrals of adoptable children has declined and as a result there are fewer adoptions finalised each year than declarations issued.