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Adoption Policy Unit


Who we are

The role of the Adoption Policy Unit includes the development of policies and legislation in order to achieve better outcomes for children, young people, and their families, in relation to adoption.

 The work of Adoption Policy Unit is underpinned by the Adoption Act, 2010, which was commenced on 1 November 2010. The commencement of the Act coincided with Ireland's ratification of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.


Our agencies

Adoption Authority of Ireland

The Adoption Authority of Ireland, established in November 2010 under the Adoption Act 2010 and under the aegis of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is an independent quasi-judicial statutory body appointed by Government, is responsible for regulating domestic adoption in Ireland including the making of  adoption orders . The Authority is also, in line with the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption the central authority in Ireland for inter country adoption.

Tusla (The Child and Family Agency)

Tusla (Child and Family Agency) has legislative responsibility for assessing the eligibility and suitability of prospective adoptive parents and provides information and tracing services to people who may wish to trace their birth family. Detailed information on the services Tusla provides can be found on the Tusla website.


Domestic Adoptions

The domestic adoption of a child under 18 years of age resident in Ireland involves the transfer, on a permanent basis, of parental rights and duties for children from the birth parent(s) to the adoptive parent(s). The child has the same legal rights as if they were born in the adoptive family.

Intercountry Adoptions

The Adoption Act 2010 provides that prospective adoptive parent(s)  are entitled to an assessment as to  their eligibility and suitability to adopt by Tusla.  If the applicants are found to be eligible and suitable, then a Declaration to that effect is issued to the prospective adoptive parent(s) allowing them to commence adopting from overseas. Currently adoptions are ongoing to Ireland from a variety of countries.   All adoptions must take place in line with the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption as provided for in the Adoption Act 2010.

Queries in relation to domestic and inter –country adoption should adoption be made to Tusla.


Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill

The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill was published on the 25th November 2016. The Bill passed second stage in the Seanad on 17th May 2017.

The main purpose of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 is to provide for a scheme whereby adoption information, including information required to obtain a birth certificate, may be provided to an adopted person subject to certain conditions.

Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 No. 100 of 2016
Explanatory Note
Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill Regulatory Impact Analysis
FAQ documents on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016

Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016/ The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017

This legislation is arising from the Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (Children) Act 2012 which was signed into law on 28 April 2015. The main purpose of this proposed legislation is to amend the Adoption Act 2010 to provide for:

•    the voluntary placement for adoption and adoption of a child of married parents, and
•    the dispensing with parental consent to adoption in circumstances where the High Court is satisfied that the parents of a child have failed in their duty towards that child for a continuous period of 36 months or more and where it is considered likely that such failure will continue, and where adoption is considered to be in the best interest of the child.

This Bill also proposes to amend the Adoption Act 2010 to reflect the adoption provisions provided for in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 as well as provide for sole step-parent adoption.

The Bill was published on 5th May 2016 and was signed into law on 19th July 2017 as the The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017.  The Act is yet to be commenced.

Adoption (Amendment) Bill No 23b as passed by Dáil Eireann
Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016
Adoption (Amendment) Bill Regulatory Impact Analysis
Adoption Amendment Act 2017

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